How To Get Out of a Cell Phone Contract

Man reviewing paperwork

Have you ever signed up for a cell phone contract and then later figured out that it just wasn't going to work for you? It's a pretty common scenario which usually ends with the customer paying a huge fee for the "privilege" of breaking the contract. However, there are ways to get out of your contract without losing a pile of money! It may take a little work, but you can usually successfully get out of your cell phone contract. 

Here's how to get out of a cell phone contract:

  1. Have a reason. Why do you want to get out of the contract? Hopefully you have a good reason and thought you would be able to honor the contract. If not, maybe this will wake you up to the fact that contracts are binding! Either way, find a reason -- real or imagined -- and stick to that.
  2. Complain. Repeatedly. Take whatever your reason is for wanting out of the contract -- poor customer service, no coverage at your home, whatever -- and bring it to the provider's attention. If the customer service representative says that he or she can't do anything, ask for a supervisor. And keep asking. You may eventually get someone who has the power to let you out of your contract and is also tired of your complaining!
  3. Complain using different media. Don't stick to complaining on the phone. If you really want to get out of your cell phone contract, write email, call, and write letters. Letter writing can be particularly effective if you copy the letter to the Better Business Bureau or the Federal Trade Commission.
  4. Remain polite. Yelling doesn't usually work,how to get out of a cell phone contract and threatening letters can get you in trouble. Instead, ask politely, but firmly to be let out of your contract. Back up your request with legitimate reasons, but do not resort to being mean or irrational.
  5. Sell your contract. There are websites like Get Out Of Your Plan! and Celltrade that are set up for exactly this purpose. People who are unsatisfied with their cell phone contracts can sell or trade in order to find something that works better.
  6. Check your Terms of Service. If a cell phone provider has changed their Terms of Service, you are able to get out of your contract with no penalty. You will have to read all the fine print that comes with your bill, but if you find any changes, even minor ones, you can get out of your phone contract!
  7. Ask for a copy of the signed contract. If you call and ask for a copy of the contract -- let them know you didn't receive it -- the cell phone provider is required to produce a copy. If they can't, they cannot hold you to more than a year contract.
  8. Change your plan. If you don't have too much time left on your cell phone contract, it may be cheaper to pay for a few months of really basic service rather than pay the termination feel. Get rid of absolutely everything except for the most basic service and stick it out for the last few months.
  9. Pay the fee. Of course, you can always just pay the termination fee and be done with the whole process!
  10. Look for loopholes. Joining the military usually gets you out of your cell phone contract! If your cell phone contract is in the name of a minor or someone who has died, the company is obligated to let you out of the contract.

As with many things in life, persistence is the key to getting out of your cell phone contract. Try all of the methods listed and remember to think very carefully before you sign another cell phone contract!


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