How to Cancel a Cell Phone Contract – Without Paying

Written by James Hirby | Fact checked by The Law Dictionary staff |  

The adventure of trying to cancel one’s cell phone contract without paying the ridiculous cancellation fee is likely one of the most non-extreme challenges a person will have in one’s lifetime.  Experts and everyday phone cancellers state that there are a number of ways to get a phone company to cancel the cell phone contract and doing so without paying that cancellation fee:  phone company changing the details of one’s cell phone contract, repetitive impossibly poor service under the cell phone contract, no-service area after starting a cell phone contract, sell the remaining contract on one’s cell phone contract, or return the newly purchased phone.

In every case where the contract owner intends to cancel the existing contract, experts insist that certain steps be taken in advance of a cancellation.  The first step is to find out from one’s existing company the steps that are in the process to make a cancellation occur.  Do not by any means actually start the cancellation!  Knowing these steps is essential in eventually doing the cancellation such that no cancellation fee will be applied.

Second step is to engage one’s chosen new cell phone provider into one’s new cell phone contract, getting one’s cell phone number transferred to one’s new phone and one’s new contract.  After the transfer has been completed, then one can proceed with the old cell phone contract cancellation.

If the “old” contract is one that is new and still under the “two weeks” period of ownership, simply evoke the “buyer’s remorse” part of the contract and return the phone.  Be prepared to have the customer rep try to keep the contract by giving new rates, free extension, and other goodies.  Hold firm, say “no”, and continue to firmly state wanting to return the phone under buyer’s remorse.  The rep will soon have to give in.

If the phone company alters the percentage of a fee or a rate or adds some new charge, or adds some new service even if it is free, each of these is grounds for one to cancel the contract.  Scrutinize the monthly bill and hold on to the change for the moment when the new transfer is complete.  Then, make the call.  The rep will have a litany of reasons why the change does not give a reason for one to cancel the contract but do not listen.  State that a call will go to the state authority on this if resistance persists.

Bad service, documented and repeated is always grounds for cancellation.  Some providers have a clause that says bad service is not grounds for cancellation.  Tell the rep that it is illegal and a call is going to the state authority on this.  The rep will relent.

Being in a no-service area is grounds for cancellation. The rep will argue but stay firm.  Again, state that a call to the state authority is the next step and the rep will do the cancellation with no cancellation fee.

If one has no reason to cancel and only a few months to go, there are companies that will buy off the remainder of an existing contract because it is less expensive to buy a new contract.

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