DA 10-133Via Certified Mail, Return Receipt Requested
Richard S. Whitt, Esq.Washington Telecom and Media CounselGoogle Inc.1101 New York Avenue, N.W., Second Floor Washington, D.C. 20005
RE: Google Early Termination Fee Policy
Dear Mr. Whitt:The purpose of this letter is to gather information about whether customers areadequately informed about Google’s Equipment RecoveryFee in connection with itsoffering of the Nexus One to customers who agree to a two-year contract with T-Mobile.Because consumers are required to pay this Fee if they terminate their contracts early(within 120 days of purchase in this case), we regard the Fee as an Early Termination Fee(“ETF”). We recognize that there maybe various rationales for ETFs. At the same time,these fees are often substantial (and in some cases are increasing) and have an importantimpact on consumers’ abilityto switch carriers.
We therefore believe it is essential thatconsumers fully understand what they are signing up for—both in the short term and over the life of the contract—when theyaccept a service plan with an early termination fee.The FCC is currentlyinvestigating options for improving consumer informationand transparencyabout communications services and fees, including ETFs, as a follow-up to our Notice of Inquiry on Consumer Disclosure issued in August 2009.
Our discussions with wireless companies since December indicate that there is no standardframework for structuring and applying ETFs throughout the wireless industry. We also
Telecommunications: FCC Needs to Improve Oversight of Wireless Phone Service,
GAO 10-34(Washington, D.C.: November 2009).
Consumer Information and Disclosure,
CG Docket No. 09-158,
Truth-in-Billing and Billing Format,
CCDocket No. 98-170,
WC Docket No. 04-36, Notice of Inquiry, 24 FCC Rcd 11380(2009).