How To Cancel Your Cell Phone Contract

February 4th, 2008

Mobile Gadgets, Personal Rants

Aside from faking your own death or moving to Antarctica, there are few options for people wanting out of that lengthy cell phone contract unless you’re willing to pony up the cash for the $200 to $300 early termination fee written in lawyer-speak on the back of the phone contract you probably don’t remember signing. Let’s face it: We don’t carefully read through every fine print line of our phone contracts when we sign away years of our lives to the likes of Verizon, AT&T, Sprint, etc. Living on the edge is the American way!

The Easy Route

It used to be simple. Let’s say your job required you to pack up and move to New Mexico next week. When you arrive at the airport you realize you have no service! Oh, no. You still have about 15 months left on that Verizon Wireless contract and you can barely get a signal if you stand on your head.

Most mobile carriers have written into their Terms of Service that they don’t guarantee that service. This means if you move to an area which has no service on that “Nationwide” coverage, you’re still responsible for paying. Just because you can’t use your phone doesn’t mean you should stop paying for it, right? Yeah right!

Military Movers

Nowadays, with more and more military men and women moving overseas, most cell phone providers are willing to cancel out the contract early without paying any additonal fees as long as you don’t owe them money. Just fax in a copy of your orders or bring them to a local retailer. Some providers also offer a “vacation plan,” where they suspend your service until you come back to the United States and you’re only responsible for a small monthly fee of $15 or so to keep your service and phone number rather than the whole thing.

Contract Swapping

The easiest and most recommended method of getting out of your long cell phone contract is by giving it to someone who wants it. A friend or family member might have little or no credit and is stuck using a pre-paid phone because they don’t want to shell out $500 for a deposit. There’s your way out. Charge them just what the bill is, and call your mobile provider to have the “credit limit” on the account reduced so they can’t go all out and run up a $2,000 bill. They get a free slightly used phone, a new paid contract with more minutes, and you get the freedom to move elsewhere.

And there’s always faking your death, which as a dead person you might find it difficult to establish a new line of credit or enter into any legal agreements. Antarctica’s looking better all the time…

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About Richard

Richard is a professional web developer and business consultant. He opened his first web hosting company at the age of 13 out of his bedroom on an ISDN connection and hasn't looked back since. Richard currently resides in sunny Florida.

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