Cancel Your Cell Phone Contract Without Paying Fees

Cell phone companies charge outrageous Early Termination Fees (ETF). Learn how to cancel a cell phone contract without paying the ETF.
Advertising Disclosure.

Advertiser Disclosure: The Military Wallet and Three Creeks Media, LLC, its parent and affiliate companies, may receive compensation through advertising placements on The Military Wallet. For any rankings or lists on this site, The Military Wallet may receive compensation from the companies being ranked; however, this compensation does not affect how, where, and in what order products and companies appear in the rankings and lists. If a ranking or list has a company noted to be a “partner,” the indicated company is a corporate affiliate of The Military Wallet. No tables, rankings, or lists are fully comprehensive and do not include all companies or available products.

The Military Wallet and Three Creeks Media have partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. The Military Wallet and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers.

Opinions, reviews, analyses & recommendations are the author’s alone and have not been reviewed, endorsed, or approved by any of these entities. For more information, please see our Advertising Policy.

American Express is an advertiser on The Military Wallet. Terms Apply to American Express benefits and offers.

The early termination fees that cell phone companies charge are outrageous! Most companies charge anywhere from $150-200 to cancel your contract before you fulfill the terms. In the past I got out of a cell phone contract with Verizon by transferring my phone number and contract to a friend. I avoided paying the $175 Early Termination Fee (ETF). There are several other ways to get out of a cell phone without paying a penny, and with the current competition, some cell phone providers will even pay the termination fee for you if you sign up with them! (see below for some offers).

Here are some ways to get out of your cell phone contract without paying the Early Termination Fee.

1. Transfer to a Cell Carrier That Will Pay Your ETF

Competition is stiff in the cell phone business. Right now it’s all about market share. And carriers are doing everything they can to entice people to switch to their network. In some cases, they are even going as far as paying your Early Termination Fees (ETFs) for you! (usually in the form of a pre-paid debit card).

The best current transfer offer is with T-Mobile, which offers an unlimited plan with no contract. We’ll cover that, then show some links to the other major carriers:

T-Mobile will pay your Early Termination Fees (up to 10 Lines). Trade-in your current phone, and T-Mobile will pay your Early Termination Fee (ETF) with a Visa® Prepaid card. And they won’t even make you sign an annual service contract. You can do this for up to $650 per line, for up to 10 lines on one contract.

Here’s the T-Mobile offer works:

  • Visit this offer link.
  • Transfer your current phone number to T-Mobile
  • Process your trade-in within 14 days of your new phone purchase (T-Mobile will offer you credit based on the market value for your eligible device).
  • After entering your order number and T-Mobile phone number, print the postage paid shipping label and send in your device.
  • Submit your final bill. When you receive your current carrier’s final bill with your Early Termination Fees (ETFs), submit the bill to T-Mobile electronically within 2 calendar months of your number transfer to T-Mobile for reimbursement (up to 12 lines).
  • Get up to $650 per line based on the Early Termination Fees (ETFs) on your carrier’s final bill.
  • Eligible device trade-in, device purchase, qualifying plan and port-in required.
  • Trade-in credit applied to T-Mobile bill.
  • Allow 8 weeks for processing.
  • One offer per line up to 12 lines.

Check with other Cell Phone Providers. Here are some other major cell phone carriers. Their transfer plans vary, so it’s a good idea to check with their website to see their current offers.

  • AT&T is one of the largest carriers in the US, and features a robust network, fast data, and plenty of choices for your next phone, including the iPhone and premium Android devices. They run frequent web-only special offers.
  • T-Mobile – T-Mobile has an excellent offer for unlimited talk, text, and data. This Unlimited Plan is probably the best deal among the 4 major national carriers.
  • Straight Talk is one of the more popular pay-as-you-go plans. They just rent network space from the major carriers. So you are getting more or less the same service, just in a different package. These pay-as-you-go companies usually offer lower monthly rates, but don’t often offer to pay your ETF.

2. The Cell Provider Changes the Terms of the Contract

If your cell carrier changes the terms of the contract you signed, you can cancel your contract without paying any early termination fees. Many states require cell phone companies to give customers advance notice of contract changes which could increase the cost or extend the length of the contract. These cell phone companies must get consent from their customers before increasing the cost or extending the length of contract. This is only fair; why should you have to uphold the new terms of a contract you did not originally agree to?

Note: Cell providers are required to notify you of these changes to their contract terms, but they are often buried in small print within your bill.

3. Transfer Your Contract to Someone Else

There are 2 ways you can do this. The first is if you transfer your cell phone contract to someone you know. I called Verizon the other day to determine how to do this. The process is free, easy to accomplish, and can be done over the phone in 20 minutes if both people are there together.

Here is what to do: Ask to do an Assumption of Liability; this legally transfers the remaining terms on the contract to another person. The cell provider’s customer service representative (CSR) will send a copy of the contract terms and the other person has to read over these and verify they have read them. From there the CSR asks the person assuming the contract a few questions, verifies their SSN and some other information, and completes the deal. The minutes and bill are prorated between the two individuals. Remember that your bill must be current and the other person must be at least 18 years of age or older. A credit check for the person assuming the contract will also be done.

The second way to transfer your service is to use a third party to find someone willing to assume the contract for you. This is essentially the same process as above, but you are using someone else to help you find a match.

4. Complain Often, but do it the Right Way

What do you do if you have spotty service, dropped calls, or your calls repeatedly go straight to voice mail? Complain to the company – but do it the right way. When you call the customer service representatives be polite and professional, thoroughly explain the situation to them, and be patient. If this is the first time this has happened you could ask for a discount to recompense you for your troubles. You should ask to get out of your contract if this is a recurring problem. This works best if you call often and keep records.

The first level of customer service reps don’t always have the authority to do too much, so you may have to elevate your complaint. Again, being polite is the best way to deal with this. If you don’t get anywhere, you may have to lodge a complaint with the Better Business Bureau or the Federal Trade Commission. Sometimes just mentioning the BBB or FTC may be enough to get you what you want – out of your contract.

5. Move Out of the Cell Provider’s Area (go off the grid)

Most cell providers coverage areas are quite extensive, but there will always be gaps in service. If you move to an area with little or no coverage, you may be able to get out of your contract. Keep in mind that most cellular service providers don’t want to let you go, so they may offer you a mini antenna or tower for your home. This will often boost your signal enough to give you reasonable coverage.

If you are in the military, you can usually cancel your service if you move or deploy for a long period (sometimes the service provider just places your contract on vacation mode). Some people have also had luck calling in the CSR and telling them they have moved to some small desert town without coverage (whether or not they actually moved there). In this case, do what your conscience allows you to do.

6. Sweet Talk Your Way Out

This is probably the most difficult way to cancel your contract without paying the early termination fees. Cell phone companies don’t like to lose customers, so they will do everything they can to keep your contract with them. You may not be able to get out of your contract, but calling and asking to cancel may be a good way to convince your cell provider to lower your bill a few dollars. Again, this is difficult to do.

7. Overuse Free Roaming

Most cell providers offer free roaming nowadays. The service isn’t free for them, but they often cover the charges for the customer. It is easier for them not to deal with customer complaints and the flood of calls to the CSRs. The cell providers don’t like it when most of the minutes you use each month are roaming minutes because it means fewer profits for them. Generally, you need to place at least 51% of your calls outside your carrier’s area. This is rare nowadays but may still apply, depending on your carrier. Read more about how to do this at Roaming Hack.

What next?

The good news is that many cell providers offer or plan to offer prorated early termination fees. Unfortunately, my former provider, Verizon, didn’t offer this feature until several months after I signed my contract. They only prorate the termination fee by $5 per month to save money, but it would still be cheaper to use a third-party service to transfer my plan to someone else.

Don’t pay the Early Termination Fee unless you absolutely have to. You have options. You can transfer your phone, look for a loophole in your contract, transfer to another company that will pay your ETF, or you may have options if you move out of the service range. Best of luck in getting out of your cell phone contract without paying fees!

About Post Author

Get Instant Access
FREE Weekly Updates! Enter your information to join our mailing list.

Posted In:

Reader Interactions


  1. Shaun says

    Hey Ryan,

    Smart phones are addictively good at a lot of things for tech minded people and the apps these days are often quite useful. If you don’t have one, you don’t need it, but if you do you will never look back! If you are on the net, then I would recommend a smart phone of some description, it doesn’t have to be an iPhone there are plenty of other options. I’m all for the iPhone coz I have one, but I think the phones running andriod (Samsung, HTC etc) are just as good and very reasonably priced too.

    • Ryan says

      Shaun, I already have an iPod Touch and a regular cell phone, so I basically have the capability split between two device. Getting a newer and more capable phone will allow me to consolidate my electronics down to one item, and give me flexibility for computing while out and about. I’m not the most tech savvy person in the world, but I am looking forward to having more capabilities than I currently have!

  2. Lucify says

    Its the only thing about having a prepaid cell phone company that really can suck and its the total lack of Smart Phones – at least that’s the case with my company. I have Net10 prepaid and while the coverage is great, the phone selection just keeps stagnant – their newest phone at least is app capable but really doesn’t have any other Smart Phone like functions. Anyone have expeirence with another prepaid company and their phones?

  3. Jeremy says

    It took me a LONG time to get on board with the smart phone revolution (just got my android powered phone last summer) and I’m glad I waited. My friends were regularly dropping hundreds of dollars every year on new technology, fiddling with apps that were still new and didn’t work right, and jumping to AT&T just for the iPhone and then getting stuck with a network that hardly works around here. By the time I switched there were no hassles and things “just worked.”

    But yeah, I’m not a huge phone geek and don’t need a billion apps nor do I need the phone to act as a portable music/media device. Give me a solid Gmail app, a fast web browser, and the ability to play Angry Birds and I’m set. Sure, I can take HD video or shoot decent 8 MP photos or use any of the tens of thousands of time-wasting apps, but I can count the time I’ve used that stuff on both hands.

    Anyway, the HTC Incredible is an awesome phone even if I’m not using it to its fullest. But for 150 bucks and the fact I probably won’t need to upgrade for about two years, it’s a steal.

  4. Evan says

    Its a waste of money but I upgrade everytime I can…I figure the phone (between emails, texting and the internet) is one of those things that I always use so it is ok to splurge a little bit.

    I would recommend checking out Sprint – unlimited data and text with enough mins for most guys for next to nothing as compared to other major carriers – plus a FULL line of android phones.

  5. Money Beagle says

    I’m with you. I have upgraded my phone after about 30 months each of the last two times, and I probably would have gone even longer except my wife has gotten the itch for a new phone and taken charge of the process!

    • Ryan says

      I’ve actually wanted to upgrade my phone for awhile, but my wife and I were planning on moving, and we had service problems with my current cell phone carrier when we visited her parents and I didn’t want to commit to a 2 year contract if I was going to have problems with my service. We have since moved and the reception is good where we are, so I am comfortable upgrading my phone and renewing my service. I’m happy I waited though because the phones that are out now are light years ahead of what they were just a year ago. 🙂

  6. Ryan says

    Comments are now closed.

    I cannot help people with individual questions regarding their specific plan or which action they should take. Steps to cancel or trade your cell phone contract are outlined in this article.

    You can also try I would try using Trade My Cellular, Cell Swapper, or Cell Trade USA to transfer your cell phone line to someone else. Good luck.

  7. Melissa says

    Me, my brother, and my mother all share a family plan with tmobile. A couple of months ago my mother got fed up with tmobile because she couldn’t get service anywhere in town. So she went out and bought a iphone with AT&T. Now she gets service all over the town. I want to do the same thing but instead of keeping my phone and service with tmobile (like my mother did), I was hoping to cancel the contract. The contract end in February of this year…but I would rather not wait that long. I also don’t know how much it costs to cancel the contract. Help please! Thanks,

  8. Tippy says

    I have Tmobile now with my daugther. I have had Tmobile about 5 year. I would like to get out of my contract. I resigned with them in Oct 2008 for another 2 years. We have the Family Allowances and have nothing but problems. Blocks numbers are able to be called, She is able to go over her minutes and I get charged. I did get credit for these items but now there is a phone number that is not blocked but as soon as it hits 8pm she is not able to call or text that number. Tmobile is working on the issues but its been 3 weeks and they still havent figured it out. The time I have spent on the phone with Tmobile with these issues is ridiculous and I tired of messing with them.
    I am looking to change to Verizon can anyone out there tell me how their service is and how their allownace work? Is Verizon any better or I will just be getting into the same mess?
    Thanks for any help

  9. Ryan says

    Diana: If you are transferring, you may find that you get better reception where you are going. So you may wish to wait and see.

    Other than what you have tried so far, the only other thing I can recommend is trying to have someone else take over your contract. You may have to give them your phone, but it would probably be worth it to avoid early termination fees.

  10. Diana says

    #6 would apply to me. I’ve tried with Alltel and no luck. They say, they don’t guarantee coverage therefore I can’t cancel with waiver of early term. fee. It so sucks. My hubby’s job is transferring him and that is not a good enough excuse I guess. I sent a letter to corporate with a letter from his job. Any other suggestions?

  11. Max says

    My Sprint UpStage just broke, and I have been dissatisfied with it for pretty much the entire time that I have had it. My contract with Sprint does not expire for another six months. Are you 100% certain that, if I call them and ask them if it is true that I can now cancel my contract without a fee, they will say yes and allow me to cancel?

  12. Steve S says

    We have four lines on one plan and one on a separate plan for my wife’s Instinct phone. She wants to get out of her contract (leaving the over plan intact) so she can move her # to get an iPhone. Her main issues are that the Instinct won’t sync with her schedule software on the computer and her scheduler or calendar on the Instinct has an upper limit of 50 entries per month. Not very many and she quickly hits this limit. Sprint’s suggestion was to get a Blackberry. I don’t know if either or both of these issues together is enough, but I intend to try. Any suggestions would be appreciated. I’m good with being professional and patient on the phone and know I need to go to a supervisor. I figure it’s worth a try. Either this or wait for another change to the contract to take advantage of the materially adverse effects clause. Thanks.

  13. Ryan says

    Melissa: I’m not sure if you can do that or not. You would need to contact T-Mobile. best of luck to you.

  14. melissa says

    I have Tmobile for about a 1 1/2 years but upgraded my phone about a year ago and that extended my contract another 2 years. I get spotty service in most places that I am now due to school, but I have a family plan that I share with my mother and her service is good where she goes. I want out of my service with Tmobile because I’m sick of just getting okay service when I pay them every month. Is this possible to just drop one line on a family plan and take my number and switch it to another carrier?

  15. tom says

    only way not to have a contract is to get a prepaid phone! $15 month gets u 150 minutes and free phone! see em at wall mart. they work good. u lose it- go get another for $30 and they give u additional 300 minutes! best of all no contract!

  16. Ryan says

    Kelllisha: Not every one of these tips will work every time. The best advice I can give you is to try them and hope for the best. Good luck!

  17. Kelllisha says

    Do these suggestions actually work? I really want to get my daughter the cellphone that she wants but i don’t want to extend my contract another year because then that would mean I’d have to wait a whole ‘nother year from the date that i purchase the phone, to even update my own phone. I really just want to get her the phone and be done with it and when it comes September still be able to upgrade my own cellphone. Any loop-holes to use? PLEASE email me at beautifulgirl228228 AT with ideas. THANK YOU soo so much. –Kelllisha

  18. Ryan says

    Renee: It seems to me like a medical condition should be a reason to be able to end a cell phone contract, but that is the human in me speaking, not the lawyers for the cell phone company. My best advice would be to speak with a manager at the customer service department and ask how you can get the cell phone contract canceled. Maybe the family doctor could write a letter? If all courses of action fail, I recommend looking into a consumer advocacy organization in your area. Perhaps they can assist.

    Sorry to hear about the health of your loved one, and best of luck to you.

  19. renee says

    there is an elderly person in my family who signed a contract with ATT last march of 2008 now his health has failed and vision is really poor no use for the cell phone so he passed it to my daughter for her to use but she is going to get a new cell phone same carrier but better deal on price of phone than just transferring. talked to 1 cs agent but she said he would have to pay is medical reason a valid reason to cancel without early termination fees?

  20. Ryan says

    Julie Thanks for the info, however, I couldn’t verify this online. I saw some information regarding a federally mandated 24 cent surcharge, but since that is a federal surcharge, that wouldn’t qualify as a change to the contract and people wouldn’t be able to cancel free of charge. This is only based on my understanding of the limited info I found online. If you have another resource, I would love to hear it.

  21. Julie S says

    Just an update, Sprint is adding a 24-cent surcharge on Jan. 1st, 2009, so this will open a 30 day window for anyone who wants to cancel their contract without the early termination fee.

  22. Ryan says

    Vitor: I haven’t personally used them. When I transferred my phone contract I gave it to a friend who signed the assumption of liability and took it over. I do have another friend who used Cell Swapper and recommended it. Good luck sending your contract to someone else!

  23. Esther Stump says

    I have had VERIZON since 2003. When my contract ran out, I refused to renew the contract since I liked the phone I had and did not want a new one.
    To keep my month to month payments, they Just kept me on and I pay each month. I am not on a contract now and when they insist I sign a new contract I tell them to hang it in their ear, If they do not like it, I will get a Track Phone. If I decide to quit, it will cost me nothing.

  24. John W. says

    I have found that you can usually talk your way out of or get concessions of some kind. Even if you can’t sometimes it even makes sense to go ahead and drop the money to get out of a bad situation.One thing I am not sure about but know is offered is suspending service for a certain period of time. I am not sure if that extends the contract or not. I have been with Verizon since before Verizon existed and have had at least 4-5 phones that entire time. I have had them turnoff some of the phones ( kids usin too much) for several months at a time for a small fee. There are no monthly charges during that time. I did not pay attention to if this extends the conract. I guess it probably would.I always keep my phones 2+ years and then eBay the old phones for more than I paid for them ( or keep as backup), and I have never switched providers. So I don’t pay much attention to any contract date other than the free phone upgrade time periods.Not only has a judge ruled on this, but the carriers themselves are starting to at least prorate the fees. This should help some. If there are service problems usually you will notice during the initial period where you can cancel without penalty.

  25. Ryan says


    Sorry to hear about your situation. Your best bet is probably trying to get out of your contract with Verizon because of spotty service. Start documenting every dropped call – time, location, etc. Then call customer service every time you have a dropped call and get the customer service rep’s name and employee number if you can. Also document the time and date and what they did when you called. Be sure to ask to speak to managers. Tell them how many times this has happened, how many times you called customer service, explain how much it is costing Verizon in customer service calls, and explain how you are ready to bring the matter to the attention of the Better Business Bureau. (cell phone companies hate being reported to the BBB). This is a lot of work, but probably better than spending more than $150 to get out of a contract when their service doesn’t meet the expected standard. Good luck.

  26. Jordan says

    I had AT&T and when I called I was informed that my plan could be cancelled without any penalities on June of 08. I had decided to go over with Verizon. The problem is that now I try to cancel my AT&T plan they are saying I wasn’t eligible til June of 09 and that there would be an early termination fee. I now have two phones with different cell companies. Now atthe location I’m at with Verizon. I was told that I would get great coverage, I have at least two dropped calls a day. I want out of one of the plans and I have no idea how to go about it. There was some judge ruling saying that in California that early termination fees are illegal. Is there something I can do with that? I saw the article on


  27. Ryan says


    Is that an actual fee, or is it a deposit because the customer doesn’t have god credit? The cell phone companies could potentially be on the hook for a lot of losses if they don’t check their customers’ credit before selling hem a cell phone.

  28. Daisy73 says

    You have to keep in mind that when trying to transfer Sprint makes a credit check up on the new responsible party and if his credit doesn’t qualify then they charge him a $250.00 fee, not a transfer fee but a fee for having not too good of a credit.
    I tried once and the transfer went thru(scary) before the responsible party said he could not pay for such fee.
    Now we’re back with our cell phone contract.
    Good thing I didn’t hand the actual cell phone before making sure.

  29. Ryan says


    Sorry to hear about your issues with AT&T. Did you cancel your phone or place your contract on vacation when you went to Europe? If so, then you shouldn’t be required to pay anything. If not, then there probably isn’t anything you can do.

    Definitely check and see if there was an error for your cell phone, because $1,000 is a lot of money to owe for an error that may not be your fault.

    Regarding your phone number – if you canceled your phone, there is nothing you can do. You gave your number away when you did that. And so far as I know, there is nothing that says the cell companies have to hold your number for two years. In my experience, they give them away quickly.

    Also, check to see when they gave away your number. Make sure they didn’t charge you anything after that date.

    Finally, be sure to notify them in writing that you are challenging the bill that you owe, otherwise this will be reported against your credit score (it probably already is). However, if you challenge it, the credit companies will note that on your score until the situation is resolved.

    I hope it works out for you.

  30. Nick says


    I had Cingular for 5 years all a sudden they change to AT&T, ok i use that, then december comes around and i move to Europe at which time my cell phone keeps recieving text messages, charging me outrageous amounts and my last paid bill was mid december, then april comes around and they turn my cell off for not having paid and for owing them 1000 bucks. i called today to resolve the problem and get my line back, BUT they say first of you have to pay right away to be back with AT&T AND you will NOT get your old number back as its been given to someone else!!!!

    I was told they were not allowed to give your number away for 2 years or so, is this true???

    i have always maintained good payment, even when high i always paid, never had a single problem with cingular, but then it switched to AT&T and they cut my phone off 3 or 4 times before with no notice, nothing,

    please if anyone knows anything, write a message.

  31. Ryan says


    I think you had to take advantage of the Sprint cancellation within 30 days. If they change your plan again, then you can try it. Otherwise, I would try using Cell Swapper or Cell Trade USA to transfer your cell phone line to someone else. Good luck.

  32. Craig says

    I want out of my Sprint plan but I can’t afford $800 to cancel 4 phones. I just read about the change in policy at the beginning of the year. Could I still use that to cancel?

  33. Andrew Lam says

    I found the Canadian version of this service
    They have best prices but why don’t they come to USA?!

  34. bob says

    I read your post and I think if anyone is being kicked out of SPrint cell service for complaining and being charged a term fee needs to seek satisfaction in small claims court. I find it hard to believe any court would uphold complaining as a reason for terminating service. Unless, of course it violated some law.

  35. Ryan says


    I was in the military as well, and I don’t believe cell phone providers are required to cancel the contracts just because you go overseas for a short term deployment. However, they are required to cancel the contract if you move overseas (I did this when I was stationed in England). Military members can place their contract on vacation mode, though, and not pay for the time they are deployed. I did this several times during deployments to the Middle East. While you don’t have to pay for those months, you are still held to the terms of the contract and are required to turn it back on when you come back to the US. You can’t just turn it off and leave it off to end the contract.

  36. Eric says

    My sister was deployed to Kuwait last year. She talked with Sprint about cancelling her contract since she was being deployed, they said there was nothing they could do for her. She even offered to fax them a copy of her orders. She said that several other soldiers in Kuwait had the same problem with Sprint, and all have left and said they will not go back. My sister is now with AT&T.

    Way to help support our troops Sprint!!! idiots

  37. Deb says

    Having them kick your contract is the BEST way to get out of it. About 6 years ago, I had a dispute over my bill with VoiceStream (T-Mobile now, I believe). I spent many hours and many phone calls trying to clear up the billing. I refused to pay the bill until it was fixed. They ended up cancelling the contract and they added cancellation fees to the already wrong bill. I finally went all the way to the top and got it all fixed. At the top, I told them to eat their own cancellation fees because THEY cancelled the contract, not me. I had records of every phone call and the rep ID I had talked to. They didn’t have a leg to stand on.

  38. Ryan says

    Stacie, That definitely sounds like fraud, but it may be difficult to prove. You should first try to resolve the situation with your cell provider. If that doesn’t work, contact the Better Business Bureau – they may be able to help.

  39. Stacie Winegarden says

    Can you cancel a cell phone contract if the place where you purchased the phone sold you a used phone under the pretense it was new. It that fraud or something.

  40. Ryan says

    Hello Tatiana,

    I have a couple friends who used Cell Swapper and they all reported to me that the site is safe and secure. It is a good way to transfer your line if you need to do so.

  41. tatiana says

    I need help, I have my contract with Sprint and just found out about the cell trade. How secure and prompt is the website cellswapper. Does somebody know??????Help!!!

  42. Rory says

    I just want to know how i can get out of my contract on only one phone. I have 2 lines, and i only want go get rid of one. What is one way i can do that, and they both have contracts. I already called telling them about the dropped calls and straight to voicemail stuff, but they just transferred me to a technician. i really want to get rid of one line, but still keep the other. does anyone know how i can do that. please let me know.

  43. Ryan says

    ken, It seems that since you have already paid your disconnect fee, there isn’t much that can be done. As for calling 911, many phones will still work to call emergency service numbers, even if they cannot call other numbers. You may wish to check with your local store for this.

  44. ken says

    I just want to know about you cell phone service. I am not clear as to is that service you provide. I had a cell phone. I had a dead spot in the area I am in. I paid them off and disconneted. They charge me for early disconnect fee. If need to call 911 for something with them for sure I would be in trouble!
    Please advise!

  45. Ryan says

    AJ, The cell phone companies don’t normally charge termination fees if you move out of their coverage area. I don’t think Sprint can enforce the contract if you move out of the US, and I don’t think you will be required to pay early termination fees because of your move. Good luck! 🙂

  46. AJ says

    I have a family plan with 3 lines and our contract won’t terminate unitl June of 2009 which is a long way to go.We are relocating to Canada next months.How can I possible get Sprint Pcs to waive my early termination fee.
    Any suggestions,help would really be apprecaited!

  47. Ryan says

    Ellen, I hate the way people get rolled over by the cell phone companies so often. I don’t know what to tell you other than to try working it up the chain. Try talking to a manager, or file a complaint with the Better Business Bureau or your state business bureau. But unless you have something in writing, you are probably out of luck. It seems unfair, and it probably is. I wish you the best in getting this resolved.

  48. Ellen says

    I had an account with T-Mobile 3 phones.I went TO A T-mobile store in Oct. to update our phones,I was told if I waited until Nov, my contract would be up.However my daughter got us cell phones for Christmas. I received my final
    bill which is over $500.00. I am being charged
    an early termination fee, I called T-mobil they informed me that my contract wasn’t up until Jan.18th of 08. which is 1 month from the time we received our new phones from another carrier.
    I do not think I should be charged the full termination fee since I was told by a T-mobile rep that my contract was up in Nov. 07.I feel this is unfair since I had only 1 month left on my contract.I feel that I was misrepresented by this T-Mobile rep.

  49. Ryan says

    From what I understand, you have to cancel, then reapply. (you will lose your phone number if you do this. Sprint doesn’t offer family plans with the SERO option, but you can have multiple phones on one bill – you just pay the same price ($30) per line. But for all you get, it really is a good deal.

  50. My Dollar Plan says

    I have sprint now, I wonder if I can upgrade to the SERO plan or if I have to cancel, then reapply. We have a family plan with 3 people, so I’ll have to check it out!

  51. Ryan says

    Hello Harold,

    I wasn’t aware of I will check that out. But you are correct, using a service to transfer your contract to another person generally means you will lose your number. Sometimes the price is more than worth it!

  52. Harold says

    It would be easier to do if they listed a number six. Or for number 3 a better option:

    You could go to or They are sites that swap you out of your contract. The only thing is most times you can’t keep the number. Porbably should check with your provider on that one.

  53. Ryan says

    Terri, I have no idea if the contract was binding or not, nor have I heard anything specific about Iowa. The only thing I can recommend is looking at your contract to determine what it states.

    If that is inconclusive, you can contact Nextel and ask them if they can produce a signed copy of your contract. I have heard some people can get out of a contract that way.

    Most companies pro rate contracts for the portion of the month in which you cancel them, so you only pay for whatever service you used. Again, I am not sure about your situation. You can always contest their decision, but be careful with outright refusal to pay because it could damage your credit.

    Good luck.

  54. Terri says

    I canceled 3 cell phones on Nov. 10th with Nextel. One of them was not out of contract. We have a total of 4 lines. They had them all messed up on contract dates. I cancelled the other one today. Because I did not cancel before the 7th of the month in Nov. and Jan. they are charging me for a whole month of service. I think when the phone is finally cancelled on the 7th of Feb. Our bill will be over $800.00 with 2 early out contracts and the monthly charge for phones that we had on used since Nov. 10th. Is there anything that I can do about any of this? I was always told that these contracts was not binding in Iowa. that came from a cell phone dealer. waiting to hear.

  55. Ryan says


    Nice job saving a lot of money! I usually only send 5 texts or so a month, but people usually send me a few, so I was paying around $2 per month on my old plan. Now they are free, so it is good to go! 🙂

    Thanks for the tips!

  56. klein says

    I called Sprint pretending that I was going to cancel my service and asked if they would stop charging me $15/month for my Power Vision Plan and they did. That’s $180 a year that I’m saving!

    I feel so dumb for having paid it all these years now. A while back I also asked them to stop charging me for text messages and they said they could give me 500 a month for free. That’s way more than I ever use, so it works out great.

  57. Ryan says

    Hello Ciaran,

    Yesterday I transferred my cell plan over to a friend and it didn’t cost me anything – but I did give him my MotoRazr for free. It was a win-win situation! He needed a new plan, and I needed out of mine. If that didn’t go through, I would have used either Cell Swapper or Cell Trade USA. I hope this works out well for you!

  58. CiaranFromChance says

    hey Ryan,

    First, thanks for the friending on StumbleUpon earlier, the more I read about SU the more I like; at least compared to Digg and a few of the others.

    Anyway, interesting post and a timely one for me. The issues with my cell phone have been bugging me for sometime. My Ex- girlfriend got me a TREO 750 (supposedly one of the best)a year ago, for Christmas, which I had planned on using for emails, blog ideas (although I wouldn’t have known at the time:)etc.

    But unfortunately I find the keyboard so small and unmanageable that I hate even texting. Consequently, I don’t even subscribe to the email and internet service from the service provider (Cingular).

    Recently, I saw a Verizon phone that has one of those nice keyboards that slides out and I thought would be something I could really use. But I know I have a 2 year deal with Cingular, not too mention a ton of rollover minutes, at this point.

    Well, after reading this post I’m going to try and do what you’re doing, go to CellSwapper or CellTrade, since i don’t have any friends willing to swap.

    I’m excited about the prospects of breaking free from my clunker and at the same time finding something to help increase my productivity across the board

    I will let you know how I make out. I may even try and combine it all with the many all in one deals that Verizon has been running for cable, internet, and digital.

    If all works out (in a perfect world scenario) you may save me a lot more than $150.

    Thanks for the heads up. I’ll keep you posted…

  59. Ryan says

    WealthBoy, some people claimed they haven’t been able to get out of their contracts with the recent changes, but others have had luck. Let me know if you are able to do it!

  60. Mrs. Micah says

    It was supposed to have an html “end rant” in there…but apparently your site took me seriously. 🙂

  61. Mrs. Micah says

    *shudder* I nearly called the cell phone people today but I knew that yelling at a CSR wouldn’t help. Remember the tire thing this afternoon? Well, all I get to hear about it is that he’s getting new tires. And I think WTF? And I ask why, but before we can discuss it, my cell phone decides that we’re not friends. So it drops the call (with 5 bars) and keeps saying the call failed. Then it forgets its SIM card and I have to restart it again. Then it still won’t let me call.

    Yeah. My cell phone hates me. I can’t say how many times we had dropped calls while we were in a long-distance relationship. Normally at least once a night. I don’t know why I have one, except for the convenience of being able to call when I’m leaving the hospital (irregular hours depending on babies) to let him know that I’ll be showing up at the metro if I want a ride. Or in college the free in-calling meant we could keep in touch.

    Ok. Sorry, .

    Excellent info in this post. I don’t think I’d have better luck with anyone else (first Verizon sucks and Cingular is our sucky plan now). But if I can’t stand it anymore, I’ll come back and figure out how to end this… 🙂

  62. WealthBoy says

    Wow, very nice! I knew that the contracts were transferable and I knew about services like CellSwapper. However, I never thought about or knew about changes to terms of service. I’m a little tempted to cancel my contract with Sprint, just because now I can without $450 in cancellation fees on the three phones in my family plan!

  63. Ryan says

    Randall, I didn’t know they could do that. I imagine that is just asking for a report to the BBB or FTC. I for one would be extremely disappointed with a company that would revoke their contractual agreement with me and force me to pay them for the “privilege.”

    If your complaint is based in fact, they should have no right to do that.

  64. Ryan says

    David a lot of people have had luck with it, I’m sorry to hear you haven’t. My experience with Sprint CSR is that there are so many promotions and different plans that they often don’t know all that is going on. That’s too bad you can’t get out of it.

    I just signed up for the SERO plan. Even though I will have to deal with lower quality customer service (my own opinion based on personal experience), I will be laying less money per month for much better service package. $30 per month for 500 minutes (which I will never use), unlimited text, and unlimited data? You just can’t beat that!

  65. David says

    I wish you could, but I tried 3 times with 3 different people at Sprint to cancel because of that change. Although there are some people who have had luck doing so, there are many more who have not.

    Oh well, my contract is up in only 2.5 months anyway, I guess I will just wait it out. 🙂

  66. Randall says

    One thing to remember about complaining. At least with Sprint, if you complain TOO much, they might kick you out and STILL make you pay the disconnect fee. There’s been a number of cases of this happening recently with Sprint.

  67. Writer's Coin says

    This is one of those posts that just reeks of practicality—I bet people will come back to this one when their time comes.

The Military Wallet is a property of Three Creeks Media. Neither The Military Wallet nor Three Creeks Media are associated with or endorsed by the U.S. Departments of Defense or Veterans Affairs. The content on The Military Wallet is produced by Three Creeks Media, its partners, affiliates and contractors, any opinions or statements on The Military Wallet should not be attributed to the Dept. of Veterans Affairs, the Dept. of Defense or any governmental entity. If you have questions about Veteran programs offered through or by the Dept. of Veterans Affairs, please visit their website at The content offered on The Military Wallet is for general informational purposes only and may not be relevant to any consumer’s specific situation, this content should not be construed as legal or financial advice. If you have questions of a specific nature consider consulting a financial professional, accountant or attorney to discuss. References to third-party products, rates and offers may change without notice.

Advertiser Disclosure: The Military Wallet and Three Creeks Media, LLC, its parent and affiliate companies, may receive compensation through advertising placements on The Military Wallet. For any rankings or lists on this site, The Military Wallet may receive compensation from the companies being ranked; however, this compensation does not affect how, where, and in what order products and companies appear in the rankings and lists. If a ranking or list has a company noted to be a “partner,” the indicated company is a corporate affiliate of The Military Wallet. No tables, rankings, or lists are fully comprehensive and do not include all companies or available products.

Editorial Disclosure: Editorial content on The Military Wallet may include opinions. Any opinions are those of the author alone, and not those of an advertiser to the site nor of  The Military Wallet.

Information from your device can be used to personalize your ad experience.