Qwest sued over broadband early-termination feeds

Two former customers of Qwest have taken the telco to court in Seattle to challenge its practice of early termination fees for broadband services.

Early termination fees have already been under fire in the wireless industry, drawing the ire of lawmakers and protests by consumer groups who say they lock in customers and discourage competition.

Qwest's termination fees are part of its "price for life" broadband plans offering $30 and up service. According to the complaint, residents of Washington state and Minnesota say they were charged $200 for bailing out of their broadband service. 

A lawyer representing the plaintiffs says Qwest markets its price-for-life plans as requiring a two year agreement, but customers don't sign a contract. The fees apply regardless of when a customer cancels service during those two years. The lawsuit argues that such a lengthy term requires a written agreement, and the fee isn't a good faith estimate of what the real damages are.

Unlike wireless service lawsuits, customers canceling wireless service still have their cell phones - former broadband subscribers don't have an expensive mobile phone to show for their commitments.

For more:
- Wall Street Journal piece of ex-customers suing Qwest over termination fees.

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