Verizon has decided to settle a class action suit filed in California over its early termination fee, and the Appeals Court has upheld the refund. As a result of the settlement, 175,000 members of the class will share the $21 million dollars that the carrier has agreed to pay to settle the case. Scott Bursar, the lead attorney for the plaintiffs, probably had to keep a smile from forming on his face when he said, ""Yesterday's ruling by the Court of Appeal confirms that this is a terrific settlement for Verizon Wireless customers, and now more than 175,000 of those customers will get a substantial refund."A spokesman for Verizon said that the settlement ends all litigation against its ETF, but is not related to the carrier's current ETF policies. As we reported
, in November, Big Red doubled the ETF on certain "advanced devices like smartphones and netbooks. Carriers have defended charging these fees as a way to protect itself while still being able to offer the latest and greatest phones at subsidized prices that most can afford. Without the fee, if a customer broke his contract, a carrier would be on the hook for the full wholesale price of a phone with no income to offset the cost. Last month, AT&T raised its ETF for smartphones and netbooks to $325 from $175. Most carriers now pro-rate the ETF, charging the customer a fee that varies depending on how much time is left on the contract. The settled case with Verizon dealt with a flat $175 fee that the carrier had charged certain customers back in 1999. Each class member will receive $87.50 after lawyers take their share.