If you are like me, you probably don’t like being stuck in a cell phone contract. Unfortunately, canceling your cell phone contract often comes with an early termination fee that can run as high as $200!
The good news is there are ways to get out of your contract without paying any fees. If you are a military member, there are a few extra clauses that allow you to cancel your cell phone contract without paying any early termination fees.
Cancel Your Cell Phone Contract When You PCS
One way to cancel your cell phone contract without early termination fees is when you PCS. You won’t be able to do this every time, but you should be able to cancel your contract if you PCS to a location where your current cell phone provider doesn’t have service, or if you PCS overseas. Be sure to show the cell phone provider a copy of your military ID card and a copy of your orders.
I’ve read about some cell phone providers trying to force military members to continue paying their contracts even when the PCS overseas, but you should insist that they allow you out of the contract.
Cancel Your Cell Phone Contract When You Deploy
Deployments are not always a guaranteed way to get out of your cell phone contract without paying early termination fees, but you may be able to do it. Be sure to take a copy of your military ID and orders with you, or you may be able to fax in a copy.
Your best bet to be able to cancel your contract is when your deployment is for longer than 6 months. If the cell phone provider will not cancel your contract for you, they will probably allow you to place your line on vacation status, which places your contract on hold until you return. You will be able to keep your phone number and will still remain on contract when you return from overseas.
Sell or Transfer Your Cell Phone Contract
If canceling your contract doesn’t work, you may be able to sell or transfer your cell phone contract and avoid early termination fees. You may be able to find a friend or relative willing to take over your contract. All you need to do is call the cell phone provider and do an assumption of liability transfer, which legally transfers your contract to another person – that way you won’t get stuck holding the bill.
If you need help finding someone interested in taking over your contract, you can try posting your phone on Craig’s List, or using a free service like Trade My Cellular, who will match you up with people around the US. You can also try Cell Swapper and Cell Trade USA which provide a similar service for a $20 fee, but seem to have more options.
Servicemembers Civil Relief Act
Another possible way out of your contract is through protections provided by the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act, which gives military members certain legal protections based on the military service. Please me be sure to read more about this act and the benefits it provides before taking action on it. The SCRA won’t apply to every situation.
You have enough to worry about when you serve our country. Hopefully your cell phone contract isn’t one of them.
Photo credit: thinkpanama