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Cellular device unlocking bill passed by US House, President Obama says will sign into law - Page 3

post #81 of 110
Quote:
Originally Posted by IndyFX View Post
 

On the second part I am really appalled that you think it is ok (or even admirable) to prevent people from getting secured credit (and as usual the straw man of "with no checks whatsoever" do you really believe the cell companies give a phone out with no credit checks? Secured credit is simply at a different level than signature credit is). Who are we (or in this case the government) to insert ourselves as the arbiters as to whether someone should or should not be able to purchase a phone.

The nanny state run amuck.

 

Where did I say anything about prevention?  I just said that if carriers tightening up on credit requirements is a side-effect of this law then I don't see that as a bad thing.  

 

On this subject, though very much tangential to what I was talking about, considering that personal debt is proving to be one of the great drivers of poverty, inequality and misery in this age I think there's a very good reason for government to insert rules to limit irresponsible granting of credit.  We have usury laws for precisely that reason, and as someone who has had some involvement in debt advice and financial literacy I don't think they're nearly strict enough.  

 

I didn't intend to use a straw man, apologies if it seemed like I did, I haven't got a clear picture of what the credit checks required for entering a cellphone contract in the US are.

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post #82 of 110
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Originally Posted by IndyFX View Post
 

 

After re-reading your post I didn't really address this point. The difference is with an unlocked phone is; the only thing that prevents you from taking their phone (remember they are paying the vast majority of the purchase price of the phone) to another network and paying them nothing (simply not paying anything) is your word.

 

Well that's crazy.  I'd politely suggest carriers sort that out rather than mess around with locking phones.

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post #83 of 110
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Originally Posted by blazar View Post

In other words... Another nail in the coffin for carrier phone subsidies. More up front cellphone cost for the consumer might be bad for a consumer on the fence about buying a premium phone. I am not sure if that is good or bad for the cellphone maker (like apple) as opposed to the carrier.

 

Without the subsidies, perhaps the cost of non-contract will come down.  Considering most people won't be able to drop $700+ on a phone, either non-contract price comes down or phone sales go dry.

post #84 of 110
Quote:
Originally Posted by IndyFX View Post
 

 

After re-reading your post I didn't really address this point. The difference is with an unlocked phone is; the only thing that prevents you from taking their phone (remember they are paying the vast majority of the purchase price of the phone) to another network and paying them nothing (simply not paying anything) is your word. That is, in a nutshell, the fundamental difference between signature and secured credit.

And no, most in the US normally don't incur large overages. Most operate within the limits agreed to in the plan.

 

Actually I'm pretty confident that a service provider would be overjoyed if you ​didn't ​use the phone on their network (i.e. took it to another network) but continued to pay the monthly fees (agreed to in the contract) as they would have their money but wouldn't have the additional load on their network. (backhaul  limits and network congestion are a serious issues for service providers in most populated areas here in the US )


It's not their phone, it's legally your phone as soon as they hand you the box.  It's a sale, not a lease.  Their is nothing in law to keep phone carriers from leasing phones, but they don't, they sell them.  The carriers know this, AT&T got out of that business a long time ago - or have you forgotten that wired phones used to be rented from the phone company?

 

And a secured loan simply means that a creditor holds a security interest in a thing.  It has nothing to do with a lock that keeps you from doing what you want with the thing.  The carriers could structure phone subsidies as secured loans if they wanted to, that would give them the right to recover the phone if you defaulted.  They do not do that, because they aren't interested in getting your phone back.  They have an early termination fee instead - and that pays off your subsidy.

 

Now, what this is REALLY about is not your contract with the carrier.  This is about people who are off contract (not everyone gets a new phone every two years, some of us aren't interested in that).  This allows those people to have an absolute right to unlock their phones.  Yes, some carriers will unlock the phone for you.  Not all will, and some (Verizon, Sprint) will tell you they've unlocked it, but it's not a real unlock, it's an international use GSM only unlock - it doesn't unlock the phone for T-Mobile in the US, and doesn't unlock the phone for AT&T.  It doesn't even unlock the phone to switch a phone from Verizon to Sprint.

 

An iPhone is the same phone anywhere.  The GSM models are fully capable of CDMA, they're identical phones.  All current iPhone models could easily be moved between CDMA carriers or from GSM carriers to CDMA carriers, except for the carrier lock.

 

Unfortunately, this law doesn't go nearly far enough.  It allows you, the phone owner to unlock, if you have the technical capability to do so.  What it should do is prohibit the sale of locked phones, and prohibit CDMA carriers from refusing to activate any phone capable of using their network (that's unnecessary with GSM carriers, you just pop in a SIM).

post #85 of 110
Quote:
Originally Posted by IndyFX View Post
 

I don't think you grok the reality of the situation... you are so getting wrapped up in the details you can't see the big picture.

Let me explain it this way:

If they make (congress) it impossible to lock a phone then carriers simply won't be able to offer a subsidized phones. All the consumer will be offered is to "finance" the phone (which was already available at AT&T and T-mobile (and I bet at verizon and Sprint as well)) on a credit plan (and pay ~$25-$50/month in payments for the phone plus your Cell and data fees) You cell plans are cheaper but you must buy your phones outright or finance them through the carrier(for instance, I pay $160 for 4 iPhones on an unlimited text & talk plan & 10Gb data w/ full tethering privileges) 

 

You seem to see this as some kind of "win" for the consumer, it isn't. Unlocked phones (and low rate plans for unlocked (i.e. unsubsidized) phones) were already available. All this will do is remove the option of a subsidized phone (which will primarily affect those with no, or poor credit, as they likely won't qualify for the "credit" plans where they might have qualified for a subsidized  (locked) phone as the locked phone serves as collateral.


You're full of crap.

 

This doesn't affect a carrier's option to subsidize phones at all.  This only corrects a problem the Library of Congress created when they withdrew the DMCA exemption for unlocking phones two years ago.  Before that, it was perfectly legal to unlock your phone - are you claiming that carriers only started subsidizing phones two years ago?

 

This is a win for the consumer.  Not as big a win as it should have been, it should be illegal to sell a locked phone in the first place.  But it is most certainly a win.

post #86 of 110
Originally Posted by airnerd View Post
Without the subsidies, perhaps the cost of non-contract will come down.  Considering most people won't be able to drop $700+ on a phone, either non-contract price comes down or phone sales go dry.


Ha! No. They don’t make any consideration for it now; they won’t change prices once they’ve stopped all subsidies.

 

If they really cared at all about moving away from subsidized phones, this is exactly what they would do.

post #87 of 110
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post
 


Ha! No. They don’t make any consideration for it now; they won’t change prices once they’ve stopped all subsidies.

 

If they really cared at all about moving away from subsidized phones, this is exactly what they would do.


I'd venture a guess that the number of people on subsidized contracts is well over 50%.  People are willing to drop $300 on a phone, but a majority of them won't go up to $700 on one.  I know I won't.

post #88 of 110
Quote:
Originally Posted by iaeen View Post


They still get you locked into a 2 year contract.

According to the words, there will be no locked contract or at least no penalty contract:

 

"The U.S. House signed off on Senate Bill 517, a proposed law that would enable cellular device users to unlock their hardware and switch to a competing carrier without penalty, something that is currently illegal..."

post #89 of 110
Quote:
Originally Posted by blazar View Post

In other words... Another nail in the coffin for carrier phone subsidies. More up front cellphone cost for the consumer might be bad for a consumer on the fence about buying a premium phone. I am not sure if that is good or bad for the cellphone maker (like apple) as opposed to the carrier.

 

Totally agree.  Here comes "mini" loans of $600-$800 for smart phones by the carriers (I think TM is already doing it).  Instead of contract penalty, the carriers will be the creditors so the users have to pay back even after switch.  I won't guess if it'll be good or bad for the phone makers...

post #90 of 110
Quote:
Originally Posted by Richard Getz View Post

Could you not buy an unlocked phone before? And any locked phone was one purchased via a 2-year contract which reduced the up front cost of the phone. Now, if anyone can unlock their phone at any time, what incentive does the carrier have to subsidize the phone? 

It will now have to be about services. Look at the positive influence T-mobile has had in the last two years. They have not had contracts and have seen an uptick in new accounts.
This law gives the people back some power instead of corporations.
post #91 of 110
Quote:
Originally Posted by ipen View Post

According to the words, there will be no locked contract or at least no penalty contract:

"The U.S. House signed off on Senate Bill 517, a proposed law that would enable cellular device users to unlock their hardware and switch to a competing carrier without penalty, something that is currently illegal..."

That's a misleading summary of the bill.

The law is about whether or not it is legal to unlock your phone (without carrier permission), not about whether or not the carrier is able to enforce a contract for cellular service.
post #92 of 110
Quote:
Originally Posted by ipen View Post
 

According to the words, there will be no locked contract or at least no penalty contract:

 

"The U.S. House signed off on Senate Bill 517, a proposed law that would enable cellular device users to unlock their hardware and switch to a competing carrier without penalty, something that is currently illegal..."

 

You can request AT&T to unlock your subsidized phone after the 2 year contract is paid off:

 

https://www.att.com/deviceunlock/client/en_US/

 

But this new bill will let you unlock your phone at any time, even before the 2 years is up?

post #93 of 110
Quote:
Originally Posted by kgscott86 View Post


It will now have to be about services. Look at the positive influence T-mobile has had in the last two years. They have not had contracts and have seen an uptick in new accounts.
This law gives the people back some power instead of corporations.

 

So the free market has the ability to do this on their own.... again, were you not able to buy them off contract before? So why this law? Why does the government have to get involved? 

post #94 of 110
Quote:
Originally Posted by Crowley View Post
 

 

Where did I say anything about prevention?  I just said that if carriers tightening up on credit requirements is a side-effect of this law then I don't see that as a bad thing.  

 

 

Let me refresh you memory then , it was in the post I responded to that you said:

 

"I'm not sure that removing a form of easy credit is such a bad thing.  Do you really think it serves low income people well to get themselves tied into expensive cellphone contracts with no checks whatsoever on whether they can afford to pay?"

 

Avoiding the obvious (and aforementioned) straw man argument, you indicate that you thought it good that the government action would prevent those on the low end of the credit scale (those who have no credit yet and those who have fallen on hard times) from getting a phone "that they can't afford" because they don't qualify at signature (unsecured) credit level.

 

​I think -they- should be the arbiter of what -they- can, and can't afford, and not the government

post #95 of 110
Quote:
Originally Posted by airnerd View Post
 

I know better than to address a post by trollest skil, but here goes.


I'd venture a guess that the number of people on subsidized contracts is well over 50%.  People are willing to drop $300 on a phone, but a majority of them won't go up to $700 on one.  I know I won't.

Yes I agree however they (discounted plans for no subsidized phones) are already available; at least at T-mobile and AT&T. Both offer highly discounted plans for non subsidized phones (where you are responsible to buy or finance the full price of the phone separately)

 

That why this bill is just nonsense, more Washington do-nothing legislation, it (discounted rates for unsubsidized phones) was already available, all this bill does is remove options. Actually it is worse than do-nothing, it removes credit options from those who may need them the most.

post #96 of 110
Quote:
Originally Posted by Crowley View Post
 

 

Well that's crazy.  I'd politely suggest carriers sort that out rather than mess around with locking phones.

 

People not paying what they agreed to, is nothing new or unique. (nor specific to the US)

This simply raises the bar (credit wise) because now you can not only not-pay what you agreed to you can also take that expensive phone (that they paid most (or all) of) to another carrier.)

 

This will result in they (the telcos) NOT giving credit to those not able to sign for that much (and or a total removal of subsides, and to "credit financed" phone purchases, which is where I believe the carriers wanted to be, and now Washington has given them the excuse to cut subsidies entirely

It was only about a year ago that the CEO of AT&T spoke about subsidies costing the telcos too much profit and being "a thing of the past" At the time I thought 'oh sure, like you are going to be able to put that genie back in the bottle'. Well it turns out they didn't have to, their pals in Washington did it for them. Coincidence or collusion?

post #97 of 110
Quote:
Originally Posted by DarkVader View Post
 


You're full of crap.

 

This doesn't affect a carrier's option to subsidize phones at all.  This only corrects a problem the Library of Congress created when they withdrew the DMCA exemption for unlocking phones two years ago.  Before that, it was perfectly legal to unlock your phone - are you claiming that carriers only started subsidizing phones two years ago?

 

This is a win for the consumer.  Not as big a win as it should have been, it should be illegal to sell a locked phone in the first place.  But it is most certainly a win.

Wow, just wow, not only do you not seem to to get that if you make locked phones impossible- subsidies will disappear (and perhaps that is whay the telcos wanted?) but you also seem to think that the government should be allowed to insert themselves between an agreement between two parties (and don't bring in the contraband straw-man)

 

Do you really think the government has the right to abridge an agreement between two private parties? really?

 

Why in your twisted sensibility can't I enter into an agreement to buy someone a phone, but make it so they have to use my services (at least for the phone I bought you) for some predetermined time?


Edited by IndyFX - 7/28/14 at 4:10pm
post #98 of 110
Quote:
Originally Posted by IndyFX View Post
 

 

People not paying what they agreed to, is nothing new or unique. (nor specific to the US)

This simply raises the bar (credit wise) because now you can not only not-pay what you agreed to you can also take that expensive phone (that they paid most (or all) of) to another carrier.)

 

But they agree to it, and it's legally enforceable right?  It's a contract, right?  I'm genuinely not at all understanding what you're saying.  You can't possibly be right in saying that carriers have no ability to get people to pay what they agreed?  People can just walk away and there's no legal recourse?  If that's the case then what's the big deal with locking phones anyway, why don't people just switch them off, stop paying, and get another one whenever they feel like it?

 

I don't actually believe that's true.  That'd be crazy, as I said above facetiously, and if that's the case then relying on phones being locked is the crappiest paste-over of a solution.  Sort that shit out.

 

No, I think you're overestimating the problem, and the effect that unlocking phones will have.  People in the UK don't just en-masse abandon any pretense of integrity because the phones are unlockable, a contract is a contract, and if you don't honour it, then you get your shit taken away.

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post #99 of 110
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Originally Posted by Crowley View Post
 

 

But they agree to it, and it's legally enforceable right?  It's a contract, right?  I'm genuinely not at all understanding what you're saying.  You can't possibly be right in saying that carriers have no ability to get people to pay what they agreed?  People can just walk away and there's no legal recourse?  If that's the case then what's the big deal with locking phones anyway, why don't people just switch them off, stop paying, and get another one whenever they feel like it?

 

I don't actually believe that's true.  That'd be crazy, as I said above facetiously, and if that's the case then relying on phones being locked is the crappiest paste-over of a solution.  Sort that shit out.

 

No, I think you're overestimating the problem, and the effect that unlocking phones will have.  People in the UK don't just en-masse abandon any pretense of integrity because the phones are unlockable, a contract is a contract, and if you don't honour it, then you get your shit taken away.

Not here  people can just not pay (and often do), they can even file for protection from creditors collection calls. Credit default (just not paying) is an epidemic in the US. Creditors can file a judgment (unusual except for large sums) but does not compel the debtor to pay. Typically all a creditor will (can) do is to report the breach to the major credit reporting services (from which you credit rating is determined) and call and write the debtior asking him or her to pay (we never had debtors prisons like they did in the UK, the US credit system has always been far more forgiving to the debtor).

They (debtors) can also file for bankruptcy (insolvency) after accruing debts and have most, or all, debts removed  (the creditor ends up eating the debt).  There are some specific exceptions to bankruptcy, like student loans (secured by Washington), and income tax owed to Washington (seeing a pattern here?)

 

You could conceivably get a iPhone for next to nothing from AT&T (or nothing, special offers for "free" (fully subsidized) iPhone abound during key buying periods) unlock it and then take it to one of the discount prepaid services (where you have to "own" your phone (i.e. unlocked) and you buy cards (similar to iTunes cards) to "prepay" you bill each month. No credit checks are run for this kind of cell service.

 

Now this is not people who have a credit rating to protect, (because in the previous scenario AT&T would most certainly report the breach to the credit services) but those who would care who have a decent rating to protect, are typically the ones who could finance the phones on signature credit anyway (on a credit card or qualify for a unsecured credit plan). 

post #100 of 110
Quote:
Originally Posted by ttollerton View Post


Harry Reid has over 200 bills from the House waiting for him to take to the floor.

Know what you're talking about before spitting it.

 

I think 190 of those are "Repeal ObamaCare" bills. 

post #101 of 110
Quote:
Originally Posted by IndyFX View Post
 

Not here  people can just not pay (and often do), they can even file for protection from creditors collection calls. Credit default (just not paying) is an epidemic in the US. Creditors can file a judgment (unusual except for large sums) but does not compel the debtor to pay. Typically all a creditor will (can) do is to report the breach to the major credit reporting services (from which you credit rating is determined) and call and write the debtior asking him or her to pay (we never had debtors prisons like they did in the UK, the US credit system has always been far more forgiving to the debtor).

They (debtors) can also file for bankruptcy (insolvency) after accruing debts and have most, or all, debts removed  (the creditor ends up eating the debt).  There are some specific exceptions to bankruptcy, like student loans (secured by Washington), and income tax owed to Washington (seeing a pattern here?)

 

You could conceivably get a iPhone for next to nothing from AT&T (or nothing, special offers for "free" (fully subsidized) iPhone abound during key buying periods) unlock it and then take it to one of the discount prepaid services (where you have to "own" your phone (i.e. unlocked) and you buy cards (similar to iTunes cards) to "prepay" you bill each month. No credit checks are run for this kind of cell service.

 

Now this is not people who have a credit rating to protect, (because in the previous scenario AT&T would most certainly report the breach to the credit services) but those who would care who have a decent rating to protect, are typically the ones who could finance the phones on signature credit anyway (on a credit card or qualify for a unsecured credit plan). 

We don't have debtors prisons any more you know.

 

Well anyway, if everything you've said is true, that doesn't sound like a situation that's particularly sustainable, irrespective of whether cell phones are locked or unlocked.  I don't really think many people are going to exploit the system and then declare bankruptcy for the sake of a phone, but maybe there's a cultural divide that I can't appreciate.  More robust credit checks are definitely something that your industries should be looking into, and blaming the government for mandating  consumer protection over use of electronics seems to me a misplaced blame for a deeper structural flaw.

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post #102 of 110
Originally Posted by airnerd View Post
I know better than to address a post by trollest skil, but here goes.

 

Such argument¡ So wit¡

 
I'd venture a guess that the number of people on subsidized contracts is well over 50%.

 

Then that’s a guess. What does it have to do with anything? What does it have to do with the number of people willing to pay more? Do you have statistics on that?

 
People are willing to drop $300 on a phone, but a majority of them won't go up to $700 on one.  I know I won't.

 

Well, that’s one. Two? Three, anyone? Anyone? They’ll do it if they’re told they’re paying less over the life of the device, which they would be.

post #103 of 110
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post
 
Originally Posted by airnerd View Post
People are willing to drop $300 on a phone, but a majority of them won't go up to $700 on one.  I know I won't.

 

Well, that’s one. Two? Three, anyone? Anyone? They’ll do it if they’re told they’re paying less over the life of the device, which they would be.

 

Minus 1.

 

I looked at the cost of my current plan, which has no phone subsidy attached to it. Then I looked at the cost of the plans that are available with a subsidized iPhone. I tried to find an apples-to-apples comparison, but the subsidized plans include only HALF as much data as I get with my present plan, and the cost of going over my allotment is TWICE as much on the subsidized plans. The score so far, Buy iPhone Outright: 1, Subsidized iPhone: 0.

 

Then I compared the total outlay over the two-year term:

 

Existing plan: $65 x 24 = $1560 plus $919 for iPhone 5s 64 = $2479

Subsidized plan $85 x 24 = $2040 plus $440 for iPhone 5s 64 = $2480

 

Net saving zilch, I get half the data, and extra data costs twice as much.

 

Final score, Buy iPhone Outright: 2, Subsidized iPhone: 0

 

Based on this scenario, I see the demise of phone subsidies as no great loss.

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post #104 of 110
Originally Posted by Lorin Schultz View Post
Existing plan: $65 x 24 = $1560 plus $919 for iPhone 5s 64 = $2479

Subsidized plan $85 x 24 = $2040 plus $440 for iPhone 5s 64 = $2480


There’re between two carriers, right? And in moosebacks, of course.

post #105 of 110
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post
 
Originally Posted by Lorin Schultz View Post
Existing plan: $65 x 24 = $1560 plus $919 for iPhone 5s 64 = $2479

Subsidized plan $85 x 24 = $2040 plus $440 for iPhone 5s 64 = $2480


There’re between two carriers, right? And in moosebacks, of course.

 

SAME carrier! And yeah, Canuckbucks. Multiply stated amounts by .925 for USD.

Lorin Schultz (formerly V5V)

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post #106 of 110
Originally Posted by Lorin Schultz View Post
SAME carrier! 

 

Must be nice to have carriers that will change plan prices for subsidies...

 
Multiply stated amounts by .925 for USD. 


You guys may as well just go on the US dollar at this point. Ecuador does and they love it. You could even keep your coins, like they do. Everyone hates to cart around change, but being able to call your money ‘looney’ and ’toonie’ is neat.

post #107 of 110
Quote:
Originally Posted by Crowley View Post
 

We don't have debtors prisons any more you know.

 

Well anyway, if everything you've said is true, that doesn't sound like a situation that's particularly sustainable, irrespective of whether cell phones are locked or unlocked.  I don't really think many people are going to exploit the system and then declare bankruptcy for the sake of a phone, but maybe there's a cultural divide that I can't appreciate.  More robust credit checks are definitely something that your industries should be looking into, and blaming the government for mandating  consumer protection over use of electronics seems to me a misplaced blame for a deeper structural flaw.

 

The US carriers subsidy system (carrier locked phones) has been working 20 odd tears now, so rather than defending it I'll just let that stand.

Yes it is a better deal (now) to buy your own (or get one of those interest free payment plans that AT&T and T-Mo are offering  (and perhaps Vx and PSC too IDK)) however... many can't qualify for those (either too young to have any credit yet or overextended (difficult times these) that could get a subsidized (locked) phone.

Now Washington has taken that option from them. 

 

And yes I knew the England had closed the debtors prisons, that's why I use the past tense.

 

And of course someone wouldn't declare bankruptcy to steal a $650 phone (you are fond of constructing straw men aren't you) but the point is that when evaluating the credit of someone who is already heavily leveraged you now have the situation that IF they filed for insolvency they could take your phone and go to a prepaid plan with another carrier. This will (obviously) result in people being refused credit for an unlocked phone that would have qualified for a carrier subsidy phone (locked) 

(there... consider you straw man thoroughly unstuffed ;-)

 

P.S. I had posted one reply that seemed to have been lost, I posted a second and they showed up concatenated (I deleted the first in edit)


Edited by IndyFX - 7/29/14 at 1:20pm
post #108 of 110

You brought up declaring bankruptcy to get out of a contract, so I don't really see how you can say I constructed a straw man out of it.  I've been trying to understand how you deal with debt over there, and I'm still only a little way there, it just sounds so alien.  Your implication throughout seems to have been that the contract with the carrier doesn't count for anything, and the only thing tying a customer to the carrier is the phone being locked.  I find that totally weird.

 

If credit default is such a major problem then maybe some effort should be focussed on that rather than propping up the problematic system with workarounds that are at odds with the rest of the world?

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post #109 of 110
Quote:
Originally Posted by Crowley View Post
 

You brought up declaring bankruptcy to get out of a contract, so I don't really see how you can say I constructed a straw man out of it.  I've been trying to understand how you deal with debt over there, and I'm still only a little way there, it just sounds so alien.  Your implication throughout seems to have been that the contract with the carrier doesn't count for anything, and the only thing tying a customer to the carrier is the phone being locked.  I find that totally weird.

 

If credit default is such a major problem then maybe some effort should be focussed on that rather than propping up the problematic system with workarounds that are at odds with the rest of the world?

Oh please, you argue just for the sake of arguing.

Yes credit default (and bankruptcy and foreclosure) are major problems in the US (just as there are financial problems and foreclosures (and homeless living in government housing) in the UK)

 

This law is useless puffery at best. And far more likely that it is damaging the ability of those who really need it most (may be their primary or only... internet access) to be able too get a smartphone. All your moving of the goal posts, diversions and  clever straw men won't change that one iota.

post #110 of 110
I don't think I've moved any goalposts or used any diversions or straw man arguments, but you seem quite wound up about it, so I'll let it lie.

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