The U.S. government is quietly negotiating to help cellphone customers avoid expensive fees when they cancel contracts.


Under a proposal to the U.S. Federal Communications Commission, the wireless industry would give consumers the opportunity to cancel service without any penalty for up to 30 days after they sign a contract or until 10 days after they receive their first bill. The proposal also would cap such fees and reduce them month by month over the course of a contract.


In exchange for the government’s approval, the agreement would let cellphone companies off the hook in state courts where they are being sued for billions of dollars by angry customers.