Getting ready for Apple iPhone: How to get out of your 2-year cellphone contract

Apple Store“Cellphone companies do not make it easy to break two-year contracts. But it can be done through shrewd negotiating or by turning to the innovators on the Internet who match contract sellers with people who want to assume the contract,” Damon Darlin reports for The New York Times.

Darlin reports, “Early termination fees are intended to compensate phone companies for the discount they gave on the phone upfront. Most mobile phone companies charge the full fee no matter when the contract is scheduled to expire. Verizon Wireless recently decided to prorate the fee, and some of the other companies do that in certain cities.”

Darlin reports, “The companies will waive the early termination fee if you die. Pretending to be dead, however, does not work well as a way to break a contract. Sprint Nextel, Verizon and Cingular, for example, may ask for a death certificate. T-Mobile says it does not. ‘They want to take people at their word,’ said Graham Crow, a spokesman for the company.”

MacDailyNews Take: We hereby pre-express our sympathies to all soon-to-be-dead T-Mobile customers. Some advice: use it or lose it: T-Mobile will probably change their policy quickly as iPhone switchers begin to drop like flies.

Darlin continues, “Joining the military can sometimes work to break a contract if you are going to be stationed overseas… Next to death, moving to a place where your phone company does not have service may not seem so draconian… There is an intriguing escape clause in contracts with phone companies that offer ‘roaming’ services, though it is intended to give the carrier a way out…. Roam too much and your phone company starts losing money. Find a place where your phone goes into roaming mode and make at least half your calls from there.”

“A more practical approach has been bandied about on a number of blogs since October, when many carriers raised the price of text messaging. They pointed out a clause in contracts that says if changes adversely affect your rates or service, the consumer has the right to end the contract early without paying a penalty,” Darlin writes.

More info and ideas in the full article here.
Good luck!

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  1. Or maybe people simply HONOR what they agreed to…

    Let any/all bugs get worked out of the iPhone and then get one….

    this is not a ‘hurry up’ kind of deal – it is only ‘cool’ to have one pronto….

  2. Rory,

    If the company raised your rates after you signed, then THEY have failed to honor the contract. There is no contract.

    MDN MW: “easy” – as in, it’s “easy” to get out of a contract that’s already been nullified.

  3. T-Mobile once told me I couldn’t cancel my contract, even though I’d only had it for 3 days and hadn’t received a signal once!

    Here in the UK however, we have STATUTORY RIGHTS, if a product is not ‘fit for purpose’ it can be returned.

    After a long and lengthy battle on the phone, I got my money back and got out of my contract with T-Mobile.

    BTW, T-Mobile SUCK!

  4. Jim
    In the States I have used CenturyTel, AT&T, Alltel, and now Cingular (AT&T again) in the past ten years. Since I work in a large area, I made sure each offered at least ten to thirty days to check the signal, and they all allowed.

  5. Why cancel?

    Just buy the damn phone full price; and replace the simcard with your current T-mobile sim.

    my 2p

    MW=usually…as in that is what I usually do when I travel, rmove my US tmobile sim and replace with sim from the country that I am in (eg. in the UK, i can call the USA for LESS than calling people in the UK!! Does that make sense?? But I save a lot of money.)

    Like Geico…sorry another tangent we need not divert toward.

  6. Hmmmmm, maybe, . . just maybe, the reason Apple let people know about the iPhone so early was so that people would have time to get out of their contracts so that they could get an iPhone.

    Just a thought. ” width=”19″ height=”19″ alt=”grin” style=”border:0;” />


  7. Des, yes by the beatles sung by Paul Mc Cartney. “I’ll never do you no harm, Believe me when I tell you…..” Feck now I can’t get it out of my head. ” width=”19″ height=”19″ alt=”ohh” style=”border:0;” />

  8. doesn’t a user need the AT&T service to take advantage of the voicemail sifting and any other special features? are other carriers going to offer the same things if I replace the sim card and use Verizon?

    i doubt it, but i hope i’m wrong.

  9. “Darlin reports, “The companies will waive the early termination fee if you die. Pretending to be dead, however, does not work well as a way to break a contract. Sprint Nextel, Verizon and Cingular, for example, may ask for a death certificate.”

    What if you’re a zombie? Or a vampire? I’ll bet that staggered in the tiny, cryptic print these scenarios are covered as well. You can’t pass the bar without extensive knowledge of blood-sucking and the undead. There are very high stakes in this grave matter.

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