Google lists US$350 fee for early Nexus One returns

Combined with carrier TMobile'sETF fees, early return costs could reach $550

Nexus One mobile phone users, already outraged about inconsistent 3G coverage and confusing customer service, joined with bloggers today to gripe about a US$350 equipment recovery fee Google is imposing on phones that are returned before 120 days and after the 14-day trial period.

The fee is listed on Google's "terms of sale" language on its Web site and comes in addition to T-Mobile USA's standard $200 early termination fee (ETF) for customers that purchased a subsidized version of the device for $179 with a two-year T-Mobile contract.

A T-Mobile spokeswoman confirmed that both fees could apply before 120 days on a T-mobile plan, but noted the $200 ETF from T-Mobile drops to $100 if customers terminate with 91 to 180 days left on a two year deal, and to $50 with fewer than 90 days remaining.

Customers buying unsubsidized $529 Nexus One devices through Google do not have to pay the $350 equipment recovery fee.

A Google spokeswoman aid in a e-mail to Computerworld that the $350 fee is a way for Google to recoup the subsidy it gives to contract customers, calling it a "standard pratice" for resellers like T-Mobile. Separately, iSuppli Corp. has calculated the cost of the Nexus One's hardware and component costs at $174.15. That total does not include manufacturing, software, accessory and royalty.

Matt Hamblen covers mobile and wireless, smartphones and other handhelds, and wireless networking for Computerworld . Follow Matt on Twitter at @matthamblen , send e-mail to mhamblen@computerworld.com or subscribe to Matt's RSS feed .

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