Getting out of your cellphone contract, any ideas?

snakester

Member
Oct 29, 2008
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Lovely Seacost NH
So I'm stuck in a two year contract with T-Mobile. I just discovered today that they are literally the ONLY provider that doesn't give a discount to people that work where I Work (Sprint, VZW and ATT all do). Also, calling their coverage around here laughable would be an understatement.

Anyone have any experience with successfully getting out of your cellphone contract? Any tricks? I was thinking of "moving in" with my uncle who lives conveniently in a complete deadspot, but that sort of seems like it wont work? :idunno:


Whats sad is if I pay the fee and go with the plan and phone I'm looking at, I break even three months after my contract and then start saving, but I don't want to have to give them 200 bucks for the pleasure of leaving (althouhg I may if it comes down to it.).
 

DAB

Mod Emeritus
Oct 9, 2008
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I know when my son was transferred to an area where our regional cell company didn't have coverage, they had him get a letter from his employer saying he had been transferred. They waived the early termination fee and cancelled his account within 30 days.

I don't think just moving will do it. But it would also depend on the company and the coverage of that company. I also know that AT&T has it in their contract that if you use the service for 3 months or more off their towers, they have a right to cancel your service, but can't charge you the early termination fee. A friend of mine locked his cell phone on the other providers towers (I don't know how to do this, but he did) and it worked. He got a letter terminating his service.
 

Wolf

Rainbow Sherbet WILL ALWAYS BE ICE CREAM!
Oct 11, 2008
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I wish I could get out of my damn Sprint contract, I want the iPhone so bad. My old cell phone was giving me problems, so I had to upgraded it and bought the Sprint Incident. So far I had it for several months and I still like it, but the iPhone is so much cooler! But I still have another 1 Year, 6 months stuck in my contract and I am not paying $200 bucks to break out of my contract.
 

Jon

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Dec 16, 2008
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I got out of my contract early in January, when I was supposed to in April with T-Mobile. With the 3-4 month difference they didn't charge me an ETF, and I didn't call to cancel. I just did the online pre-registration on Apple.com for the iPhone, went to the apple store a day later and my old T-Mobile number was waiting to be activated when I arrived. When I got home I checked my old phone, and sure enough it had the 'no service' tag across the screen. Maybe you can send T-Mobile a strangely-worded letter about how if they don't let you out of their contract, then space aliens from your home planet will land in their Headquarters and enact their revenge....or something like that.
 

sgip2000

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Oct 16, 2008
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There was a lawsuit brought against Sprint recently that challenged the "early termination fee". Basically, the judge ruled that they cannot charge the same fee for varying months. They will soon be required to prorate the fee based on how many months you have left.

How long have you had T-Mobile? They do allow you to cancel within the first 30 days without any fee.

You could also bring up the lack of signal.
 

drdroo

#1 by Women 18-24
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Oct 9, 2008
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You agreed to the contract and had a 30 day trial period, you're 'stuck' with a contract because you decided to sign one. For those of you whining about being 'stuck', in the future take a contractless plan or don't sign the contract. Most carriers have contract-less plans, but you will be paying full price for the phone.

Your choices are, pay the breakout fee (T-mobile has a funky pro-rating system so it might be less than the standard fee), join the military, move out of the service area, or die.

T-mobile is offering a 50$ a month 'retention deal' for unlimited voice in San Fran, you can always try to convince them into giving that deal to you (even if you're not in that market). My lawyer told me 'it never hurts to ask'.
 

limegrass69

Confused
Oct 12, 2008
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You'll probably get charged an ETF. But if you pay the ETF, get the phone unlocked and pop an AT&T SIM in there, you won't have to buy new equipment. Just an idea.

Also keep your eyes and ears opened for any "material contract changes" that may occur...like them raising text message rates, etc. That usually buys you a 30-day window to bail.

As another said, maybe you can log a bunch of calls complaining about the poor service, and cancel as a result of that. However, that's why they usually give you the 30 days to return the phone. In this economy, the cell phone companies are trying to squeeze out every dollar of revenue, so you might have a tough time sweet talking your way out.

Another idea...perhaps you have a friend of family member who can assume your contract??
 

mrpacs

Well-Known Member
Oct 11, 2008
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I bit the bullet and just paid 2 ETF's for me and my wife in order to leave pathetic VZW for iPhone Heaven. It was well worth it.
 

snakester

Member
Oct 29, 2008
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You agreed to the contract and had a 30 day trial period, you're 'stuck' with a contract because you decided to sign one. For those of you whining about being 'stuck', in the future take a contractless plan or don't sign the contract. Most carriers have contract-less plans, but you will be paying full price for the phone.

Your choices are, pay the breakout fee (T-mobile has a funky pro-rating system so it might be less than the standard fee), join the military, move out of the service area, or die.

T-mobile is offering a 50$ a month 'retention deal' for unlimited voice in San Fran, you can always try to convince them into giving that deal to you (even if you're not in that market). My lawyer told me 'it never hurts to ask'.

I've had them for a while, the coverage was never stellar,but a few things happened recently that really made me mad...

1) About two months ago we got hit with an ice storm knocking out power to my area. for a week. All the carriers but T-Mo managed to stay up through this, T-Mo taking TWO DAYS to get back up, leaving a twenty mile radius in my town without tmo service. And because you can't force roaming on their phones (too cheap to pay for roaming agreements except where they think it's "absolutely necessary" ) the phone was basically paperweight for about 48hrs.

2) This one, I will admit really isn't their fault, it's more of my workplace's fault for not getting the word out. They have agreements with ATT, VZW, AND SPRINT for employee discounts. The only one I saw being advertised was VZW, and there's no way I'm going with them, way to expensive for what I need. T-Mo, once again is the ONLY one that I can't get an employee discount with.

3)Mobile web outages-At least once a week, a lot of times more often, my mobile web (A service I'm paying EXTRA for, mind you) doesn't work right. It'll just endlessly show me their portal page, no matter what link I put it. Not to mention the fact that I can't bring up this website EVER (it brings up some kind of page about something called WebFaction)

4)TERRIBLE coverage-This one I knew going in, but I didn't know it would be THIS bad. It works fine near my house (not in my house, but no phones seem to) so I didn't manage to catch this within the thirty days, but if I go somewhere that isn't a state highway or a city, I can pretty much count on being stranded if my car breaks down.

I don't just want out because I want a shiny new phone; I want out because I can't rely on my phone to do what I NEED it to.
 

drdroo

#1 by Women 18-24
Staff member
Oct 9, 2008
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Bangor, ME USA
1) About two months ago we got hit with an ice storm knocking out power to my area. for a week. All the carriers but T-Mo managed to stay up through this, T-Mo taking TWO DAYS to get back up, leaving a twenty mile radius in my town without tmo service. And because you can't force roaming on their phones (too cheap to pay for roaming agreements except where they think it's "absolutely necessary" ) the phone was basically paperweight for about 48hrs.

That's not entirely true. You can force roaming on T-moble SIMs (it isn't locked out, unlike AT&T SIMs). However, it only works with cells that T-mobile contracts roaming on. They do it per cell site. This is similar to how other carriers do this (AT&T, Verizon/Sprint/US Cellular do it based on PRL, same kind of idea though).

2) This one, I will admit really isn't their fault, it's more of my workplace's fault for not getting the word out. They have agreements with ATT, VZW, AND SPRINT for employee discounts. The only one I saw being advertised was VZW, and there's no way I'm going with them, way to expensive for what I need. T-Mo, once again is the ONLY one that I can't get an employee discount with.

With good reason, their rates are generally less than the other guys with employee discounts. Unlimited calling for 50$ a month beats everyone, for instance. This will be available in every market come March allegedly. :)

3)Mobile web outages-At least once a week, a lot of times more often, my mobile web (A service I'm paying EXTRA for, mind you) doesn't work right. It'll just endlessly show me their portal page, no matter what link I put it. Not to mention the fact that I can't bring up this website EVER (it brings up some kind of page about something called WebFaction)

A lot of the time that's a phone config or phone device issue unfortunately. Not to say it isn't a problem with the network sometimes, but in my experience as a former T-mobile customer it was often the device or the feature provisioning.

4)TERRIBLE coverage-This one I knew going in, but I didn't know it would be THIS bad. It works fine near my house (not in my house, but no phones seem to) so I didn't manage to catch this within the thirty days, but if I go somewhere that isn't a state highway or a city, I can pretty much count on being stranded if my car breaks down.

If you can give a list of places where it outright doesn't work OUTDOORS though, they may let you out of contract. T-mobile (like other carriers) do not guarantee indoor coverage. You should make your case in such a way that you basically are declaring the service unusable and that it matters.

I would also suggest contacting T-mobile Exec Customer Service instead, since they have powers that regular CSRs do not.
Tmobile: Contact Tmobile Executive Customer Service

I don't just want out because I want a shiny new phone; I want out because I can't rely on my phone to do what I NEED it to.

Understood, I was namely making broad strokes because of the douches that want to break contract to go get an iPhone (or other trendy device). :) You were just in the crossfire as the OP.
 

limegrass69

Confused
Oct 12, 2008
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In my experience, T-Mobile's support is the best in customer service in the wireless industry (by a mile). I've dealt with them all. Give them a call and see what they are able to do. You never know.

While their coverage isn't always the best, they've always been accommodating in every possible way.
 

snakester

Member
Oct 29, 2008
478
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Lovely Seacost NH
In my experience, T-Mobile's support is the best in customer service in the wireless industry (by a mile). I've dealt with them all. Give them a call and see what they are able to do. You never know.

While their coverage isn't always the best, they've always been accommodating in every possible way.

I will admit, I will definitely miss their CS when I go. It's just here in seacoast NH their service is bad. (the coverage maps make it look a lot better than it really is). I think I'll give them a call this weekend and see if they can do anything for me, and if not I guess I either pay the $200 bucks or wait until next May
 

Wolf

Rainbow Sherbet WILL ALWAYS BE ICE CREAM!
Oct 11, 2008
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The ones that agreed to the contract couple of years ago had to sign it, now that is a sign contract! But when it comes to renewing for couple of more years that is not a sign contract!
 

drdroo

#1 by Women 18-24
Staff member
Oct 9, 2008
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Bangor, ME USA
You only have to sign a new contract to get benefits you'd not get otherwise, such as a discounted phone or a contract-only rate plan. The contract rolls into a month to month contract once the contract expires.

I repeat, if you don't want a contract and/or don't intend to stand behind the words of the contract, don't sign one.

There is always a contract-less option, either prepaid or (in most cases) postpaid. The choice is up to the consumer, sometimes they're too stupid or cheap to take it. I say cheap specifically because some want a 20$ phone AND no contract. I'm not sure what planet they're on, but I think they should move back there.
 

drdroo

#1 by Women 18-24
Staff member
Oct 9, 2008
596
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Bangor, ME USA
Hah yeah, AT&T's representation of coverage in this state is funny, especially to the eastern part of the state. I've driven it. :)