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Google Charges ETF For Nexus One On Top of Carrier's 165

Posted by kdawson
from the hand-in-the-cookie-jar dept.
dumbnose sends along the news that Google is double-dipping on the Nexus One early termination fee. Ars sorts out the double dose of fine print from Google and T-Mobile. What it boils down to is, if you give up on your Nexus One between 14 days and 120 days after the sale, it will cost you $550: $350 to Google (automatically charged to the credit card you used to buy the phone) and $200 to T-Mobile. After 120 days the Google fee goes away and after 550 days the T-Mobile ETF begins prorating. A poster on Dave Farber's email list provides another perspective on the "restructuring of the handset premium."
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Google Charges ETF For Nexus One On Top of Carrier's

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  • by kannibal_klown (531544) on Tuesday January 12, 2010 @05:17PM (#30742830)

    See, that's why I went with the T-Mobile Even More Plus plan.

    No 2-year contract, and no early termination fee.

    Then again that meant I had to pay full price for my Nexus One... around $550.

    I'm still deciding whether I'm going to keep it or stick with AT&T, and I still have 1.5 weeks to decide and return it.

    Granted I'll still be about about $90-$100 if I return it. 51.99 from my T-Mobile plan (via company discount) and 40-50 for the restocking fee.

  • by Chris Pimlott (16212) on Tuesday January 12, 2010 @05:23PM (#30742904)

    It's customary to explicitly define the acronym before its first use in the main body.

  • False alarm (Score:5, Informative)

    by jdgeorge (18767) on Tuesday January 12, 2010 @05:25PM (#30742924)

    As Ars poster captriker notes: the Google fee is only levied if you do not return the device to them in the subscribed time.

    Google's terms of sale for the Nexus device [google.com] state:

    You agree to pay Google an equipment subsidy recovery fee (the "Equipment Recovery Fee") equal to the difference between the full price of the Nexus handheld device without service plan and the price you paid for the Nexus handheld device if you cancel your wireless plan prior to 120 days of continuous wireless service. For example, if the full price of the Nexus handheld device without service plan was $529 USD and the price you paid for the Nexus handheld device was $179 USD with a service plan, the Equipment Recovery Fee you pay will be $350 USD in the event you cancel within the first 120 days of carrier service. The Equipment Recovery Fee is equal to the line item in your confirmation email setting forth the discount on the full priced Nexus handheld device related to your carrier service plan activiation. You authorize Google to charge the Equipment Recovery Fee directly to your credit card, or other payment method used to purchase the Nexus handheld device, upon cancellation of your wireless plan. You will not be charged the Equipment Recovery Fee if you return your Nexus handheld device to Google within the 14 day Return Policy period as set forth below.

  • Way to Dumb, guys! (Score:2, Informative)

    by copponex (13876) on Tuesday January 12, 2010 @05:30PM (#30742990) Homepage

    Google states that if you cancel the contract within the first four months, you have to pay them the for the rest of the phone. ($350 + $180 = $530)

    The T-Mobile fine print says:

    THE EARLY TERMINATION FEE IS: $200 IF YOU TERMINATE WITH MORE THAN 180 DAYS REMAINING ON YOUR TERM; $100 IF YOU TERMINATE WITH 91 TO 180 DAYS REMAINING ON YOUR TERM; $50 IF YOU TERMINATE WITH 31 TO 91 DAYS REMAINING ON YOUR TERM; AND THE LESSER OF $50 OR YOUR MONTHLY RECURRING CHARGES (including any applicable taxes and fees) IF YOU TERMINATE IN THE LAST 30 DAYS OF YOUR TERM. The Early Termination Fee is part of our rates and is not a penalty.

    How is Google double dipping by demanding no money if you cancel after 120 days?

  • Re:ETFs? (Score:5, Informative)

    by yincrash (854885) on Tuesday January 12, 2010 @05:49PM (#30743232)
    It's actually cheaper to pay full retail and still go with t-mobile for the full 2 years. Getting the subsidized phone puts you on a different plan than getting a no-contract plan that t-mobile introduced in october.

    http://lukehutch.wordpress.com/2010/01/05/the-cheap-way-to-pay-for-a-nexus-one-think-tco/ [wordpress.com]
    Basically, if for some reason you really didn't want to pay a full $530 up front, it'd be cheaper just to take out a $350 loan over 2 years plus you wouldn't be beholden to t-mobile's service / contract.
  • by RManning (544016) on Tuesday January 12, 2010 @05:51PM (#30743260) Homepage

    If you buy the phone on a contract, you pay $80 a month. If you buy the phone without a contract, you still pay $80 a month.

    I have an unlocked Nexus One. T-mobile has two separate types of plans: one with a subsidized phone and one if you provide the phone yourself. For me, I pay about $20 less per month then if I had gone the subsidized route.

    I believe T-mobile is the only major carrier in the US that does it this way.

  • Google is reimbursed by T-Mobile. If they're reimbursed by you, then T-Mobile doesn't owe them anything, so why is T-mobile charging you an early termination fee?

    A bit of background. A few years ago I got a Smartphone, a T-Mobile Smartphone, but not from T-Mobile. I wanted to get service from T-Mobile because that was the only way at the time you could get software updates. So I go to the T-Mobile store, and ask for a month-to-month contract, for THIS phone. I had it with me, they knew I was going to use my own phone.

    No problem.

    Then they asked for a $200 deposit.

    For what?

    In case I terminated the contract before two years are up.

    But it's month to month.

    Yes, but you see, I had to pay for the phone.

    But I already had a phone.

    But the contract came with one.

    I didn't want it.

    That's OK, I didn't have to take it, but I had to pay for it anyway.

    Needless to say, I walked out without a cellphone contract.

    So... T-Mobile is perfectly prepared to charge you an ETF for a phone you never bought from them, that doesn't come out of their pocket. I strongly suspect that 120 days is when Google gets the $350 from T-Mobile, and any ETF T-Mobile is charging before that point is just them up to their old tricks. I'm sure that any other US carrier would do the same thing, I'm not ragging on T-Mobile here, I'm ragging on the whole cellphone industry.

  • by GweeDo (127172) on Tuesday January 12, 2010 @06:21PM (#30743660) Homepage

    Because with T-Mobiles Even More Plus plan that isn't the case. If you have a contract-free phone it is cheaper.

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