Thursday, March 02, 2006
There is a little known secret about your cell phone contract that your wireless service provider doesn't want you to know.
You can cancel whenever you want without paying a termination fee.
Plenty of people have tried arguing with a customer service rep. Some have tried threatening legal action. Others just flat out refuse to pay and several months later find that they are being pursued by a collection agency.But there actually is a way to terminate your contract early AND avoid the early termination fee. All you have to do is get them to cancel you.
There is a very simple way to do this. Become unprofitable.
If you're paying them $50 a month but costing them a few hundred - They most definitely will cancel you.
So how is it done? A couple of years ago you might of noticed that everyone stopped paying roaming fees. One wireless giant started the "no more roaming charges" program, and the rest followed like the sheep that they are. But just because you are no longer paying the $0.69/min doesn't mean your provider gets off scott free.
Even though you stopped paying for roaming charges years ago, your wireless service provider has been eating the costs. This is done to keep complaints to a minimum, and of course, you as their customer.
So let's do the math.
At $0.69 a minute, a 2 hour long call in a roaming spot just cost your carrier almost $83.00
Even with some of the higher end plans, this would still be quite a hit. But would it be enough to cancel you?
To find out, we just need to take a look at the contract you signed.
This is the link to Cingular's Terms of Service.
It states: "Cingular reserves the right to terminate your service if less than 50% of your usage over three consecutive billing cycles is on Cingular-owned systems. Customer must (1) use a Cingular GSM dual-band handset programmed with Cingular Wireless' preferred roaming database; (2) have a mailing address and live in the immediate geographic area in which subscription is made."
Now, in plain English.
For 3 straight months, make sure that more than half of your calls (51% or more) are done in roaming.
If you've used 400 minutes this month, then you find a roaming spot and place a 401 minute call to MovieFone. Do this on your weekends of course so you don't use your minutes.
After the 1st month you'll know you were successful because you will receive a letter from your carrier suggesting that you switch to a different provider that can better accommodate your cellular needs.
Keep in mind that some roaming partners can take two months to send the records of your roaming calls to your wireless provider. It's possible that your provider won't even know that you were roaming until they receive the bill.
Just for my sake and possibly others I'll mention this: Don't make a 5,000 minute roaming call just because you're mad at your wireless provider. Only use this tool if all other resources have failed you and use it in moderation.
I'm hoping that this information will make termination fees pointless and one day get rid of them altogether.
Also, check with your own provider's contract terms. They may differ. This page is only referencing Cingular.
Oh yeh. This is for educational purposes only. Don't sue me Cingular.
I have been adjudicated mentally incapacitated in 49* different U.S. states so nothing I say can be taken seriously in a legal sense. That should be enough to protect me, right?
*If you're wondering which state doesn't acknowledge my handicap - It's Texas. That way they can still execute me if need be.