After nine years of doing business with Nextel, my wife and I finally had to change carriers because service was so bad in our area. We were unable to use our phones in our home, and when we could use our phones elsewhere, about 70% of our calls were dropped (sometimes multiple times within a conversation). Repeated calls to Sprint Nextel's customer service produced no results and no hope for the future. But worse than their inability to provide coverage, they socked us with an early termination fee on both of our lines ($200 each). After nine years!!!
Back in 1999, when we first started doing business with them, there were no contracts for specific periods of service. At no time did we sign a service agreement/contract (or verbally approve one) during those nine years. We did, however, change to a higher priced plan (by telephone) in 2007, after receiving some particularly large bills. Their customer service reps now tell me that that change in service plans constituted a commitment on my part to continue service with them for another two years (no matter how bad their service/coverage got!!!), which of course I would never have agreed too. They say that they sent me a letter to this effect at some point after the change in plans, which seems like a convenient mis-truth. But even if it were true, I hardly see how they can find that (thinly disguised scam) to be binding acceptance of a contractual agreement.
We have bought all of our own phones, so the fee is not to "recover subsidies paid out by the company for handsets" like they claim in their recent class action law suit (which their customer service reps say they are not allowed to discuss). Their reps also tell me that they have no legal department for me to talk to, but I bet they have a department to tarnish my credit (because I will not be strong-armed into paying their bogus charges) and to sell my "delinquent debt" off to collection companies. Not only do I think their practices are unjust and a bad way to do business, I think they're criminal in nature.
Any company that would blatantly ripoff a long time customer like this, is, I would guess, capable of anything. Buyer beware! Doing business with Sprint Nextel should be strenuously avoided!