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Dialed In: Dialed In #216: All about ETFS (early termination fees)
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Dialed In: Dialed In #216: All about ETFS (early termination fees)

44:04 /

The Dialed In crew dives deep into early-termination fees: where they came from, why we have to have them, who's been screwed over by them, and what you can do if you want out.

Early termination fee is also known as ET -- Everybody hates them and few people can get out and successfully. On today's special episode of dialed -- we are going deep inside sultan termination fee -- It is Wednesday march 21 2000 while I'm just an adult court in San Francisco with landlocked and technical producer Steven Beecham. AS and we are joined in New York by -- Bennett. -- and by CNET news is that Maggie Reardon calling from grand act beautiful mountain. Welcome every planet before -- Begin at we will be taking your live calls during the special -- including your tips and your worst stories regarding cell phone ET apps. Seeking emails now and dialed in at cnet.com student going to be keeping an eye and that. I'm and you can also call us live at 180900. 2638. And if you're curious but -- pilot's seat satellite is a. -- early termination -- we call -- ETS. Big carriers called -- -- insurance. Maggie has written -- in depth about. ETFs -- commuting dispensing advice to many CNET readers about their release specific personal situation. So many tell us what is an early termination fee and why do we -- To have. Out acts well in early termination he is I am. Basically defeat -- -- carrier. Puts on you if you com. -- cancel your contract currently -- so if they give you a subsidized phone. Aid and EL HU cancel your service before your two year contract is over then gates supposedly -- recoup the cost of I. So on so that's really what if he is close to do but I some of these these are really expensive and the companies have come under attack. Com for having such outrageous -- and -- so that's what we're gonna be talking about here today. You guys here -- area. An -- there so basically early termination fees that they can start at 350 dollars for -- And -- good news is that they usually a lesson every month. So -- but that's actually kind of a new -- development and -- The early termination -- used to be -- ceased to be about 200 bucks a month -- -- there is one it was -- -- 200 taxi -- total if I -- -- -- I'm sorry 200 bucks total com. And any -- was point that you tried to be on a client from bright so even if you let's say you bail on a contract it one month. You would pay 200 dollars -- -- contract. At 2.3 months of 24 month contract you asked it it -- that. What they've done now is Dade bomb it gone back and were rated it so you Kate -- -- have a contract. But it's interesting because that only really keep it out when consumers got really angry about it and there -- some com. Some class action lawsuits and congress got involved so -- -- -- wasn't something to carriers did out of the goodness arts. That's -- so -- some of those lawsuits. Com out -- there -- a whole bunch of them you know spring was sued Verizon was sued this is a few years ago. And then you know. Each -- is cases did settle. And and then that the company started offering pro rated -- -- I and then you know his first it was one carrier and then now all four major carriers I'd do it which is really great for consumers because. You know it doesn't make sense that it feeder near the end of year contract that a still need -- to charge. A cedar recoup the cost of your phone you parity heat -- -- com so you know they were a little. Disingenuous -- geek com. When they argued -- carriers argued that this was really just to recoup the cost -- how much they're spending TT dvds balanced and I am. You know I take it lawmakers saw that regulators are that once it started to hit to sir or change them a little bit -- day eight. He relented and got now at a much more consumer friendly option for folks even though the total price -- gonna. Right -- -- reason why -- prices gone up is because it -- devices has gone up quite a bit in you know that's difficult to argue I meet people Iraqi around -- Smartphones it you know you -- -- 200 dollars 450 dollars -- By actually cost carrier quite a bit more I mean we see this with the I thought I retail prices. Of the actual press -- 600 some dollars but EP get a new one on. Spring -- the work. Verizon for 199. Brian -- what do you guys think. Well I mean I. I don't know if he -- -- -- I think that. You don't ETFs are just such a nasty topic and there's been some real. And horrible. Stories out there that they forced a lot of this. And a few of -- but you know that every other day -- seems like there's some story of the grandmother getting charged. You know 600 dollars power. You know maybe like I think the -- didn't start with -- Soldiers getting. -- -- -- -- -- -- Yet it's here that show grandma looks like was a 150 dollars thankfully not 600 and others during those 350s. Right which seems to be the upward limit. An analyst claimants you know or insurance it's for and then it's because -- terminated the contract and it. It's just difficult especially when you reach the almost needed and that your contract and he still kind of patent when the -- -- he -- it's very -- the consumer. And groups and so what -- from the carrier's perspective. From the carrier's perspective -- what they're doing is they're basically. Buying the phone from the manufacturer right to -- you talked about iPhone. A a lot of the other -- like the Droid what is the retail value of -- RAZR Max. Does not 300 dollars it's gonna be a lot closer to -- 60700. Dollars you can't actually buy it from Verizon. Off contract. And -- -- a new contract price there. And you can avoid early termination fee that way but in the fact of the matter is that Verizon is buying these phones at full price. And they're basically giving you a subsidy. When you sign a contract. So you're agreeing to you pay them X amount per month. And in exchange -- for -- of bird data and well that's basically for your data and an expert just the integrity of -- contract places well. And in return they are gonna give you a phone. -- half the price it's. Which and to be honest with you I think the waived its fees are set now it's a lot more -- had you know I mean if I'm gonna get a out. You know. A reduction in accosted the device you know I'm willing to do that I I need service anyway I am not up for -- -- another subsidy for another two years or you know maybe year and a half so I think for most consumers I think that's okay. I think what they were doing before is dumb you know they're basically. They were trying to lock you into. To -- service for two years straight as. One of the things -- carriers really hate is when people sign up for service and -- relieved because there's cost and acquiring -- as a customer costing giving out phone. And so some of these proxies were a bit unfair. -- and now they -- remedy that -- and I think it's really because consumers were outraged. Odd people file a class action lawsuits they topped -- state attorney general's. -- -- -- -- -- Talk to their their congressmen. On -- so you know once there was more attention they letters -- -- Once -- -- more attention. On this issue -- It carries are being are scrutinized over this entity they relented and they change their practices which I think is good but no. You have to figure that -- the carrier's you know -- -- They're paying a lot of money to be -- TV it is found so you know they need to recoup their costs at some point so I think -- that element of the contract is probably pretty spare. I feel like -- -- resembles well but there's a lot of people writing complaining. But they wanna get out and like Brian mentioned there are still the stories of their grandmothers getting duped in the soldiers to. Find themselves in a bind and in need to get out and for ordinary people. Through art and those extreme situations I think there's definitely the lure of a pay -- it has an I -- that the case and Smart phone. Development is so. -- said that my phone is now obsolete NEC's beautiful shining glimmering object on another carrier. And I really want -- found I really want it now and I wish I could get out of this contract and I have another six months I have another year left on it something like that so. Through I think that part of it. -- part of our culture can -- you blame. Of just that the rapid release cycle and and also the culture we've created where people are almost encouraged to just upgrade their phones. -- all the time. I think I needed bigger issue for consumers now is on -- certainly if you if he -- contract and you take a subsidized -- You have to stick with that contract -- that lets say that I had the -- to contracts are written now com. You can't really get out of it and Lance. The carrier changes the terms of it in any -- when rates are you can't just decide to go eat because you want to go you know you're on Verizon like a -- because you think sprint will give you better service that's not. Hot enough reason to. Cut your contract but let's say you're AT&T customer -- you have unlimited service. -- -- data service and and they start slowing down your service you cancel your contract AT&T says -- dot com. By you know it seems like eight changed the terms of the contract in the -- it you can't change the terms of the contract not -- AD ET app so I think the big question now is. Why should you -- to stick around in your contract I went to carrier -- change is something right. Something from unlimited. From truly am limited to La -- service that dozens in parent and some customers. Com are fighting back there is it I knew I California sued in small claims court -- and actually won his case I am so so that's a way to do -- here and I'm actually working -- a story right now -- -- There is a Supreme Court case last year that actually has com. Reduce the number of options consumers have when it comes to. I getting out of a contract or disputing something with their carrier I instead of being able to -- who is a class a class action lawsuit. I am not able to do that warranted Supreme Court held that it -- stipulation in the contract you sign when you -- service. It basically -- your right. To have me -- I. To participate class action lawsuit instead -- forces you to settle your dispute with the company via arbitration or small claims court. -- us action lawsuit that's when I'll hold group that people can kind of have their case represented in one compound -- writes it's not you into brightly. Going to lawyer going after any of the carriers it's -- -- that you're gonna similar leap and rocked kind of presenting its case app into. It jewels will go to edit to the lawyer -- -- -- around in and the lawyers chic and and fines people who weren't sent similar circumstances usually choose 1% to represent a class. And then they take -- to court. And you know class -- -- kind of got that it -- bomb. -- I was talking -- that AT&T lawyer who argued his case to grant the Supreme Court and he was basically saying oh you know. Customers get much more front arbitration in terms. Money like you know I'm sure lots of people -- listening have probably heard or had gotten things in the -- now like sun you know. You're you could be part of this class action if you file something you know you get two dollars back -- Your carrier for cable company or from whoever com is potentially wrong GOP. Each year -- -- -- class -- so. You know. In in some instances people looking actually get more money going to arbitration but I think what you. Tend to lose is. 810 -- it. What kind of force they can exert on a company like for example BET apps out there hadn't -- class action lawsuits. I'm sure that it be carriers would have actually done any -- are that it would have -- -- and -- of some of these other groups in government agencies it it's -- -- took action on -- Let us switch gears for a minute and head over to do some reader angst that we received from Brian's split and -- Brian would you like to read -- Brian's story. Chairman and now I believe he knows France believe that O'Brien had tagging all of -- -- is that as a regular -- correct. Anyway so that others aren't. That's right -- of the world in ninety. I'm so Brian said that I had some issues last year went -- about twenty phones. Before. You know he got temporary phone but was forced to use an HUC thunderbolts. And then switched to Blackberry Bold. -- but basically he was one or two while -- was charged an early termination fee of 399. Which is actually pretty steep. Anyone to leave because he was getting technical issues on his -- -- and -- like a -- phone. -- So I mean -- he basically has some issues he couldn't use a device. And you wanna get a new one. And I want to leave so we can do that but it but they said they couldn't. So they charged him an early termination fee of 399 dollars and charged him for repairing the device that he never received. That. Yeah that's that's prevent yet he's staying with Verizon. And I guess -- you know -- -- -- in him because he's actually got a when your contract. From -- we back in the day that gives -- unlimited text voice data and tad worrying. And so he's sticking it out that he he likes the comfortable when -- contract doesn't feel tighter for two years and yet. Ironically. That when your contract the short term is actually with keeping him there. Along with. Against their LTE network which keep her first. -- Sort of seems like an extreme case. An element that I think a lot of times Verizon -- use the area. Advanced infrastructure so it really keep customers. Units you know put in not to look around for other devices -- other people's networks. How well we get to ask that you don't I don't think that that's a problem I mean it today it if -- customer deals that. Bright and has a superior network and that's their choice -- -- -- the real issue here for this guy is that you know it he did wanna leave comments you know key. Sign this contract in his -- this contract because he has a device. It's been subsidized but the device doesn't work so I would think it contracts out would be boy if he doesn't happen. A working device and you know I think that's where you have to start him. -- and read the fine print and if that. If somebody wants to make a case against. Carrier I think that's where you argue its net you know. This is what the contract was for I'm not getting the service or a product that I must be delivered to -- Well here's a thing. You know correct me if I'm wrong but I know that carriers are really. -- it definitely do not want to replace -- device. Unless you can prove that it was a broken or faulty. Through no fault -- so basically physical damage could be drop in the -- somewhere award if it just freaks who sit on it or something. They will definitely not out -- -- that product. It has to be like a faulty. You know -- -- the battery just like blows up and the whole thing catches on fire or something then no. You know get back. -- -- -- I heard back to cases of people edit all the carrier that it looked out this phone isn't working cash. Com they are sent a replacement sometimes are not a brand new replacement they -- -- and its lack. -- at refurbished -- So you know it pirate this guy I would go. Call eight or call Verizon -- they can't get camera placements on and I think it will work for and -- each inch he keeps. You get and and aegis escalate your problem until on the and asking managers and -- -- me how are -- looks at her eyes and seek the tweaks and add. You argue wrongful orient. We're gonna take a quick ad break when we come back we're -- -- more extreme -- says. And also supplies some tips like -- that Maggie just offered. For how to you avoid her contract. Her avoid pain and it penalty for any TF are ways that you can work around what the issue really is in -- Q a successful conclusion to stick with us back. -- And work back. This is wild and and you've got a special issue where we're talking about ET -- early termination fees though that if he is. That a carrier -- Levy on new if you try to leave your contract before the termination date. That awful rattling sound that you might hear -- Sounds awful but it's actually -- the studio behind us but under construction and those are the -- -- I'm also. The sounds of and how we feel inside and we hear about some of these extreme stories. A but before we get to that -- -- talk about. Some of the ways that you can avoid paying an early termination fee or some of the ways that you can come to successful conclusion if you have a dispute your carrier. The only one sure way to avoid in ETF. Is -- but. I don't know that. Actually. -- and may not be true repentance. Will there was a lot of stories I don't know Maggie you know this probably better than -- but I heard that those controversy with. Soldiers armed who had actually unfortunately fallen in line of duty and their. Spouses had actually gotten calls. And you know basic demanding that they pay their ET -- for their husbands or their wives you know. Wrapped apps are now I had heard that -- any typically eat if it's someone -- which clearly someone who's in out. Fallen in battle is is not around any on air on you -- -- They don't require. And early termination -- because I can't practice is -- easily gone. -- -- And then announced that -- pretty Terrell. Yeah I mean I've heard that it's been reported by other news organizations and things like that but. -- that's -- in an extreme example. But down -- have been others you know where -- we are talking about before where AT&T charges. ATI 82 year old grandmother her you know 150 dollars. Or you know things like that but basically. About story on the board rate -- and Emma. Any -- -- in the wrong. Agreement deserve -- yet. And I don't think any program on deserves -- stuff. That but I come on -- grant my campaign and the -- active story there brightly just gonna take a stereo what happened. Sure I mean honestly this is a lot of this is sort of hearsay so you don't know exactly how much I -- to believed to basically. This woman was charged 10850. Dollars. And you know there was I believe. -- I -- due to that this -- the cost of it you know she refused to pay and she basically. You don't took -- -- court if I remember correctly and I think it's still being. Litigated right now. But. You know. These stories always happen arm and -- lot of folks that are trying to battle this. I remember talking to the ya. FTC of one point justice kind of figure out what they think of this whole issue. And it -- the person I spoke to basically said that if it really is something that. Palm has no -- real legs to stand on just because thirty charging you -- you know a monthly fee plus data. So and games became a phone may be subsidized but why -- they -- you again especially if you. I have been subscriber for a long time. Yeah I mean that -- you know what I find -- margaritas are com. Net cable companies and satellite companies also charge you early termination fees for entering a contract with them and -- -- getting -- phone. They're giving you a box that you're -- And and he still are subject to DC's so on the you know unfortunately in the courts that the -- Have not been outlawed gay com and and the contracts are legitimate contracts I. And fortunately each for. You know and so many ways for consumers. We have no ability to negotiate contracts and -- and that's that's just sadly. -- -- the state of where things -- We react -- he got an email from China you have a story about a cable company extending a -- to industry. And and and then to his house -- he can take advantage of the whole bundle -- a two year contract with DTV. And he said it was done a few months before however DTV charged him at 300 dollar ETF anyway. Because he had asked for -- HD receiver before the contract had expired. And -- they extended him for another two year period this complaint is that nobody had explained at the time of his request that that's what would happen through even -- you agree to it he didn't know what he was getting into because -- represented of on the phone haven't spelled out the entire burden for him financially. Right which you know it he talked to a lawyer the lawyer could and possibly site -- I mean that's the whole thing -- ETF cases come. There are ways it AT -- contacted a lawyer when it take it that -- if you wanna go to small claims court you can fight this is on based scientists. Regular contract rates so if common. If the terms weren't spelled out -- -- someplace three seat them where you weren't aware of something on edit the basically the idea is -- -- When you sign up for service use you know the terms in your screen to something each so it you -- an ever present -- saying that you could. Potentially agree with -- Then you don't om that's not part of a contract sell up or acts acts as a way that a lawyer -- Can argue that the contract is not. Sony finally hears it and that guy I talked to are tying he's great and Chicago like a La -- Brenner. And -- -- -- action Brenner law hot seat and look him up that he down and he takes on these cases and and fights for consumers and and a now so if anybody has -- she get chemical. It's gonna jump in really quick and assay that you know I was look into this a little while ago I ran across the story of of L -- Rosen stock -- much earth meaning if you heard about this person but he actually posted a YouTube video. About a year ago. You know explaining how he was able to negotiate a way out of its contract with horizons. Basically what he did was that he. Was able to -- notice -- a very small change in Verizon's bill and it was a very small things like code. A state tax -- they add on -- but because they changed it without him knowing he was able to argue that you need it's that it was -- the grounds to leave and that's how did it. We're gonna have more tips for you -- -- for now we're gonna play a voicemail that Cayman. -- -- came in forever he does leave his name but he has question about buying phones on eBay and if there's any early redemption fees or any. Contract. Disputes when you by phone from even. -- America's -- -- if you lose -- -- Use cellphones -- -- socialist or Warwick city. Early termination fees and whatever it. Subsidies. Required treatment and. So is from what I understand -- you know -- you're not. -- if you already have -- the carrier and you don't you're not under contract any longer. On you can use an old Sony had you can buy a -- a used phone that operates on -- to a carrier's network and you are not subject to an early termination fee once your contract date ends like for example I'm AT&T'S subscriber contract ends in two days so excited and pumped. You know I could stay with AT&T and -- month to month. -- I'm my own phone at full price or use a phone a -- I still have our one had previously and I won't be subject to -- ETF now. The clip site that is is that. You know they can change the terms -- of your contract you're not under contract so they can raise the price they want. And potentially they could raise decrease of -- service. Since apartment month -- and every -- they want and or it could it I mean it I don't typically rate and -- really what we've seen happened historically like to really with its unlimited. -- is that I am you know. People are able to keep their unlimited content you know service -- and I don't believe that -- Either eighteen -- Verizon is forcing people to sign another contract in order to keep. That unlimited service. So we have discussed a couple ways that you can avoid -- early termination -- avoid paying it. And that will -- the when I keeps recurring is. That if -- carrier has materially. Changed the terms of your contract and even then you may not be able to get out of it. Maggie also have the tip of as the leading an issue. As well. And -- -- say that the first steps need to do you are it if you feel like giant. Wrongly being charged in early from HP then call the carrier I mean these are people you can negotiate with them. You know if you don't get the first person you talked to. I am doesn't help the out -- you ask somebody else. Com and you know sort of lay out your case -- cute if you don't get anywhere -- just talking to the folks. On the company you know another. Could avenue and and one people when they're upset with -- to -- provider is go to your social media let other people now what's going on. You know we've seen it happen in other cases -- like it did two dollar feed it at Verizon was charged well people went not so. And I am you know -- it. A couple days Verizon changed its policies look at something that's happening to a lot of people a lot of people are really upset about it. On you might get backing TU -- Reach out to the masses BA your social networks and and get things going that way and then -- -- sort of exhausted all of those things. Or -- as you're doing all those things contact a lawyer you know it could be expensive and and you might now when he -- that let you know I think -- later -- paying more out actually be paying more than early termination fee. It could be but you know it doesn't -- cost somebody and apps -- -- at case and I you know and fortunately. There's no avenue for class action now so it's harder to get and a lawyer to help you out. It and it cost anything in any other thing is you can go to arbitration -- you're. You know or small claims court which you know an arbitration like with AT -- example they -- the cost so you have a dispute. On. You'll have to pay any. They -- minute they're gonna hit the cost of odd that the processing p.'s support if you hire a lawyer to -- -- free a -- acted -- app but there are also provisions in that it if what AT&T offers you is -- com. You know if if if they lose an arbitration and what they are argue is lower then com. And what you should get eighteen. -- have to pay 101000 dollars double the lawyer fees so there's an incentive there -- ago. To arbitration Maggie do you have a sense of -- that's all the carriers are not -- teensy. On there -- -- arbitration -- that's the whole point of not when he you know that's sorted -- if you're not at shopper com. Class action as -- avenue have to offer some other channel hurt consumers to place. -- -- -- had their concerns are their disputes so -- now and not sure about the terms of all these other arbitration deals but com. You know you can call your carrier. You can exploit that find out what exactly and it should be near the small fine print of your contract and find it. That's a good idea Ali is -- a record of that on hand. And sadly I mean you have to read your contract mean in out. That's like it's it's kind of a funny thing to sake -- to be perfectly honest and I read every contract. That I sign -- you -- you share it if it's something you're concerned about eight years. Artists it on you won't -- -- -- instilled this this contract. -- you know no. Know what -- -- -- -- what you're getting into om I think for most people though the value of getting subsidized phone. It is announced it keep who'll take the risk. Act with -- -- next year's. How much of it is also -- -- years you know. It'd be a greater effort to go and iPhone off contract -- -- -- -- -- and -- full retail price and then take that to carrier. And worry about the month month. I think it's a lot of effort. Really mean it gets a little bit. I think it's just more cost -- an expert on -- -- the condition at 200 is about as much opt. Okay I'm okay with that and that we already that the cost of the data FEMA -- Monthly husband sort of normal lives and that's how much of phone costs. Right right so you know it's. A lot of money you you know at the other option is to go to a prepaid carrier -- -- contracts rate com and eating go to some of these lower -- folks to offer. More advanced Smartphones. On -- -- our. -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- Not being quite -- requests. As -- English now. For you know Verizon does have these network claims and that as -- one of the most advanced networks in the US and -- true. It's a generic as their premium -- So I've been isn't it true that. If you do you buying phones like an iPhone unlocked for something like that -- -- T-Mobile. Off for instance if I thought that they actually would charge you for -- if you need a micro sim cards -- -- ridiculous and aren't. They actually will charge you or at least. Make signed up for another two year contract -- that sim -- T-Mobile I have eight because they have month -- month. Deals they are usually pretty grim but -- act you know I don't -- I mean age the problem is is it if you haven't unlocked iPhone com. Yet there's only two places you can use it AT&T and T-Mobile. Verizon and I. And -- don't have sim cards om does a CDMA networks and you now it's much more difficult. To unlock those funds to be used on. Each other's networks it doesn't really cabinet. So let's go to another email that we have basically if you're stuck on a two year contract in your itching to -- out of it it could be worse. You could be in Canada. In writing Canon and listening to this we got an email from a one of our regular listeners -- In Canada with information that might put some things -- for. Perspective I can't speak -- -- But some things into perspective for those of us Americans who are griping about early termination fees -- -- -- -- us the summation on the -- out of actually you could just weeded -- right this is -- Yang. It's on an atom and and we -- -- -- -- and of the stick when it comes to contract to Begin in an already getting handsets at the end discrepancy have to sign. Up to a for a three year contract. Of which you're not eligible for an upgraded to two years after your contract -- and sign up for a monthly voice and data plan. Must be great -- and sign up for a monthly voice and data -- be greater than fifty dollars the subsidy can be significant for example you can get that galaxy nexus for free. However -- actual full cost of ownership of the devices significantly higher than owning the nexus on -- -- an extra year of being on contract. If you wanted to by the galaxy nexus outright -- and buy it for 650 dollars but then you have to sign up. For a minimum one month of service which is about my eyes if you wanna sign up for a one or two year contract he is subsidy. A flight of 200 dollars so and faced with the decision of -- frontier agreement. And get the phone for 400 dollars or signing at three years in getting the phone for free most people opt for the three year option. In addition looms over in addition -- candidate that -- -- stacked so if you entity agreement for the nexus but choose to upgrade. At -- started at third year. You -- another three year agreement to get the subsidy for your next and it's really a four year agreement from that date going -- -- in the near -- says that -- idiots didn't start into the existing term and this particularly has -- -- users who want to upgrade with every little -- That's just plain crazy because I never had a distinct in that gas that had in existence of that. If they want only if there -- two termination fees gravity ETF for the voice portion of your contract and you have one for the data -- of your contract so. Example actress kids as if you want to terminate your contract a year and a half in of the year and a half of -- -- to pay multiplied by two. -- -- it's cold. Pick up an Apple upgrade it's also couldn. Minnesota and the winter. But that and I can't -- Isn't that things are starting to change -- that carriers are beginning to offer friendly or upgrade policies in order to -- new subscribers so there's a -- term contract that sort of like renting its own. And then there -- regional carriers that are -- to offer unlimited plans like metric PS. PCS's in the US so we might be complaining about being -- in -- year contract. And I. Really can't imagine having a phone for three years you know what what is actually able lifespan of the -- hopefully -- more than that but I have to say. In a couple years ago. We got -- iPhone four we bought it to do use some testing because Apple doesn't give us long term -- -- So we got that phone to do a lot of application testing and -- that's a phone that I actually use a lot an office and it it's it freezes. There are problems with the software and it's not iPhone I'm not singling back out to be mean or to -- -- pointers again. -- in the day -- -- a -- -- from Tampa and wore it simply to say. But even premium devices don't always hold up the way that -- one and Q. Battery can degrade over that time as well. So. I'll say actually it most felons from my experience. Don't Steve in the full two year contract a lot of them you know like you said that the batteries cedar on the way out or -- You know something worse happens so you know -- eat it on -- -- for three years com. That's really optimistic and you're eligible for upgrade after two year. -- you have to have them for two years before you can even get any for up with the -- -- -- they make you sign it and your answers. -- Is another extra fee on top of that. -- so. Elsewhere in the world like. In parts of Europe for example it's much more prevalent buyer for an -- price and then it's take -- to carrier do something like -- Hugo. -- have a smaller data plan fans are just used differently and other parts of the world. Even for. Premium Smartphone. So -- About a year ago -- -- an IP trip a little while it was several months ago as speaking with an executive from. Orange. In France. And -- was saying about an -- market it's about 505050%. Of the people iphones -- contract. 50% iphones at full retail and then take it to you carrier -- even the top tier carriers like -- I'll bet what do you guys think I mean that most of us we are situated in the US I think most of us are used to buying -- on contract. Do you think that if it were more common to go that other route that that's something they you would do or do you think. That -- apps really don't pose much of a problem. And you never really been lured away -- -- for whatever reason. I mean I could say I'm just eat. So I like having -- subsidy rate and I have to you have to pay for service any -- And -- you're not getting any kind of discount for bringing -- on yourself for painful retail price and I still have to pay. The same thirty dollars a month data plan is seen you know whatever it is forty bucks a month from -- -- plant com so. Now. Why not just sign a contract and I get -- device for more than half the price of what I'd have to pay otherwise. So that's how I think it'd and then you know -- think it -- I get angry at my provider that I can't I'd just pick up and moved to somebody else. By now that departed to deal -- my contract is coming up a few days -- now make a choice whether to leave her stake. Yeah -- so that's. I I think it's actually it's not a perfect system but I think that I consumers here in the US -- -- com. Become accustomed to -- and I think it's really. Is bad it is is people. I mean it's not perfect but I think I'd rather that have to opt spent 600 bucks every two years to buy new -- Yeah I mean you can also. You -- from both sides to you can you know take advantage of lower prices through subsidies like that. But then also. You know -- -- -- you can get other phones that. Weren't actually on the network or offer by the network. Or take your older phone and -- -- and install a if it's an Android device can install another version of the -- Or something like that to get more functionality out of bed you know. Things like that -- -- any other final thoughts. Read the fine print in the fine print read your contacts and mountains and yeah I mean I I would also just. And it reinforce what -- said about anytime that you have a problem or question for me anytime I have a question about. Anything or a problem about and change service so it is possible that that a carrier could. -- angle does cell towers and and you can get -- service. It seems like you know. Breaking your contract isn't necessarily the solution your solution is is that you want to be able to hear -- or you want to be able to get the signal strength that you expect. -- that taking the time to actually call. -- customer service representative. Escalating that even immediately you know. Remaining -- -- kind of explaining the situation if it may end up being something that you have to follow up on several times which would be. As terrible pain but at -- and at the day you know it if you get offered. Signal booster -- or. Away outs or something else and then -- is probably preferable to you to stand. Fishing at the money right away and and moving to a new carrier that's when it comes down to you. In the mean you have to remember that that the ETFs -- place because they don't want you to switch to another carrier rate -- -- so. You know. Wait a year contracts over and switch accurately and happy make a lot of noise on social networking sites still I mean it. Carriers are listening to act stuff added this is -- They argue it's not a competitive market but its its competitor. Market people have choices so make sure the EU exercise your choice and make it be known I. Where the choices are good -- I think there's a lot of -- ways to do that out it's better than it was before and still disappointed that consumers don't have on an up avenues. To make change and I'm innocent and I feel like they're at their voices can be the -- Too much to the little guy in situations but you know. Chided. Credit DL out here. -- -- Thank you for joining us today for this special talk about early termination -- is pretty much everything you want it's an about it and and thank you Maggie for the history lesson there as well. And you can always call us with your questions -- -- comments. Because voicemail 18664022638. Send us an email filed in at cnet.com. Read all of our blog posts on -- Smartphones and everything in between. At dialed in dot cnet.com and you can check out all other CNET podcast at podcast dot cnet.com. Thank you very much for joining us thanks everyone and we will see you -- our regularly scheduled time. Of Monday at 10 AM --

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