The proposed S. 2033, the Cell Phone Consumer Empowerment Act of 2007, seeks simple, clear information on services and charges before service providers and customers enter long-term contracts, say its sponsors. The measure:
- Preempts state laws, except those that provide additional protections to wireless subscribers.
- Orders the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to come up with regulations that pro-rate early termination fees (ETFs), which at a minimum would be reduced by 50 percent after one year of a two-year contract.
- Orders FCC to submit a report on the practice of handset locking (dedicating such devices to one service provider and preventing use with other carriers).
- Requires service providers to provide accurate call coverage maps to consumers, provide dropped call/coverage data to FCC, and publish all contract terms, including all charges, minutes plans, taxes, surcharges, and wireless E-911 service.
- Requires separately itemized taxes and fees on bills sent to subscribers not later than 60 days after calls are placed.
- Bans charges or fees other than those for the wireless service and any charge expressly authorized by federal, state, or local regulation.
- Allows customers to cancel contract extensions within 30 days after service providers give notice and to cancel original contracts for any reason up to 30 days after entering into the contract.
- Requires written notices of changes in rates and terms at least 30 days before such changes are to take effect.
- Allows military personnel to terminate contracts if they receive orders for deployment outside of the U.S. for a period not less than 90 days.