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MacRumors
Nov 29, 2007, 10:27 AM
http://www.macrumors.com/images/macrumorsthreadlogo.gif (http://www.macrumors.com)

One of the major obstacles for potential iPhone buyers is that the iPhone is offered exclusively via select carriers. Even if users are willing to switch carriers, they may not be willing to eat the often multi-hundred dollar early-termination fee that they would incur.

Several websites are now available to help users avoid various cell carrier fees. Cellswapper.com (http://www.cellswapper.com) and Celltradeusa.com (http://www.celltradeusa.com) both are geared towards helping users seeking to end their contracts early avoid early termination fees, while helping new customers avoid activation fees.

Both sites work on a similar principle in that service providers will typically allow the transfer of contracts without termination or activation fees. The sites therefore act as a meeting place for users to find each other.

Note that the service is not without any cost, as the sites do charge a fee for matchmaking, however the end result should be considerably less than termination and activation fees.

MacRumors.com does NOT have any kind of business relationship with either of the websites aforementioned.

Article Link (http://www.macrumors.com/iphone/2007/11/29/getting-out-of-your-contract-without-a-termination-fee/)



darwen
Nov 29, 2007, 10:46 AM
I remember hearing about one of these. Very cool idea. I am so glad that someone figured out how to stick it to the cell companies! and is able to profit off the idea themselves!

studiomusic
Nov 29, 2007, 10:49 AM
I had our Verizon contract up on Celltrade for a year and no inquiries.:rolleyes:

210
Nov 29, 2007, 10:59 AM
Is there a UK equivalent?

joshysquashy
Nov 29, 2007, 11:02 AM
Is there a UK equivalent?

There is no activation fee in the UK, so no one would wan't someone else's tariff - nothing in it for them, and extra hassle, risk etc.

Sorry

Orng
Nov 29, 2007, 11:04 AM
My understanding is that this does involve swapping away your cellphone and transferring the plan to the swappee.

So maybe this is of interest to iPhone owners when Apple releases an unlocked 3G phone. Someone will probably want your first-gen iPhone with only 6 months left on the contract.

bigandy
Nov 29, 2007, 11:40 AM
Is there a UK equivalent?


http://uk.cellswapper.com/ :p

WestonHarvey1
Nov 29, 2007, 01:19 PM
I didn't remember signing anything with Sprint the last time I got a new contract, except for my credit card purchase at the store. When I got my iPhone, I got my last Sprint bill a week later with the early termination fee on it.

This is exactly what I did - I called Sprint, talked to the billing department and said "I'll pay this fee, but first I need someone to fax me a copy of my signed contract."

They said they'd have someone call me within the next 3 days. A couple days later, I got a voicemail from Sprint saying they had credited me the difference.

Most people seem to renew their contracts over the phone. These are not valid contracts. In the United States, a contractual obligation still requires a real signature, and Sprint doesn't seem to mess with this.

I would imagine even if you did sign, you might get out anyway if they don't feel like digging it up out of their system, or lost it somehow... but that is up to you and your own ethics.

mrwizardno2
Nov 29, 2007, 01:24 PM
Verizon tried to tell me I was still under contract and charge me, even though my contract was up in April. Needless to say, I asked for proof, which they couldn't provide... no early termination fee.

TimelessWind88
Nov 29, 2007, 03:11 PM
This is good news for me, as the only thing that's really keeping me from purchasing an iPhone right now is that I'm locked into T-Mobile until at least this time next year (that, and I'd like my iPhone with a slightly larger hard drive). Even the $400+ to buy the device isn't a big concern. I may check this website out if I run out of other options.

poetassium
Nov 29, 2007, 03:42 PM
Here is the easiest way to get out of your contract with any cell provider.

Find an address that would be "off network" or on a tower not owned by your service provider. Maybe an aunt or uncle's address would work.

Call your service provider and tell them that you are moving to your "new" address. If they say that if you moved there that you would be allowed out of your contract. If this doesnt work tell them that there is no signal at all at your house. then ask for a fax number so that you can fax proff of your address.

Sign up for your new cell phone service with they "new" address

Fax the contract to the fax number. In 3-4 days your contract will be terminated.

Mindflux
Nov 29, 2007, 03:45 PM
Most people seem to renew their contracts over the phone. These are not valid contracts. In the United States, a contractual obligation still requires a real signature, and Sprint doesn't seem to mess with this.

I would imagine even if you did sign, you might get out anyway if they don't feel like digging it up out of their system, or lost it somehow... but that is up to you and your own ethics.


This does not sound feasible. A verbal agreement is still binding, as binding as a signed document is.

Mindflux
Nov 29, 2007, 03:46 PM
Here is the easiest way to get out of your contract with any cell provider.

Find an address that would be "off network" or on a tower not owned by your service provider. Maybe an aunt or uncle's address would work.

Call your service provider and tell them that you are moving to your "new" address. If they say that if you moved there that you would be allowed out of your contract. If this doesnt work tell them that there is no signal at all at your house. then ask for a fax number so that you can fax proff of your address.

Sign up for your new cell phone service with they "new" address

Fax the contract to the fax number. In 3-4 days your contract will be terminated.

Most carriers want you fax a bill or proof of residence from your new address for this to work. I've thought of it all before, and believe me I'd love to not may my sprint ETF.

brownieguy19
Nov 29, 2007, 05:37 PM
I just called sprint up, said I was moving to another state (colorado), and gave them an address of a summer camp my friends had worked at that never had service all summer they were there. Sprint verified there wasn't service there and waived the early termination fee. This was June 29, the day the iPhone arrived.

vanamp
Nov 29, 2007, 06:25 PM
This does not sound feasible. A verbal agreement is still binding, as binding as a signed document is.

You are correct but it is up to them to prove that there is a verbal agreement. I don't think they have the resources to pull up a recoded conversation with john doe from 10 months ago or whatever......maybe they do?

matticus008
Nov 29, 2007, 07:49 PM
Most people seem to renew their contracts over the phone. These are not valid contracts. In the United States, a contractual obligation still requires a real signature
No, it absolutely does not. A signature is just one kind of assent.
You are correct but it is up to them to prove that there is a verbal agreement. I don't think they have the resources to pull up a recoded conversation with john doe from 10 months ago or whatever......maybe they do?
They don't need to record the conversation. There's a reason why agents who make these sorts of calls can't help you with anything else and why they work off a script. It's fairly easy for them to demonstrate that the call took place and that you were not transferred to a cancellation department. Once they provided the call record, the script, and the entry in the computer system, the burden would shift back to you to demonstrate that you did not say "yes" to the question renewing your contract. Starting a new one, on the other hand, requires some specific information.

bigandy
Nov 30, 2007, 07:09 AM
You are correct but it is up to them to prove that there is a verbal agreement. I don't think they have the resources to pull up a recoded conversation with john doe from 10 months ago or whatever......maybe they do?

Verbal Contract, or Oral Contract? A verbal contract can imply both oral and written, but is legally used to refer to a written contract.

While Verbal Contracts are legally binding in most jurisdictions, Oral Contracts are not.


There is apparently much confusion between the two. :p

daze
Nov 30, 2007, 10:03 AM
Wirelessly posted (Mozilla/5.0 (iPhone; U; CPU like Mac OS X; en) AppleWebKit/420.1 (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/3.0 Mobile/3A109a Safari/419.3)

interesting comments. I never like to sign contracts.

GoCubsGo
Nov 30, 2007, 10:09 AM
I'll say this. When considering a switch from at&t to verizon I reviewed what the cost savings may have been including the term fee of $150. In the end, the new phone retailing for $300 that I would get for free from Verizon minus the $150 term fee and the $5.00 savings per month on a new verizon contract, technically speaking I was up if I switched and cancelled early.

With the iPhone if you're on say Sprint on a blackberry/rim plan then I'd venture to guess for 400-600 minutes voice, whatever text, and unlimited data you're paying at least $75-80. With the iPhone plan you get all that for $60 and for another $10 you can increase text from 200 to 1500. The cost savings over the 2 years is $480.00 (that's $20 savings between the blackberry and iphone plans). The BB I wanted was $200 with a $100 rebate so providing I sent the rebate in my cost savings went down to $380. Technically, the iPhone was only $40 more (tax was about $20 on the iphone). I mean for $40 more and my monthly bill is $60 and not $80....

So when canceling your contract think about the overall cost savings you'll have by switching. Deduct the term fee and if it makes sense then it makes sense. It's not like you're going to have some weird hit on your credit report that says you didn't fulfill your obligations. The fee is charged so they don't hit you with something negative on your credit from what I understand.

Cell phone carriers are borderline predatory imo. They seem to get away with it but then again I wouldn't want to be without a cell phone these days.

Mindflux
Nov 30, 2007, 11:03 AM
Thanks for the obvious. Anyone with two ounces of brain would have already considered this.

For me to continue paying Sprint for another 11 months is 780 dollars. 150 to get out is nothing in comparison to waiting it out,savings or not.

matticus008
Nov 30, 2007, 07:22 PM
While Verbal Contracts are legally binding in most jurisdictions, Oral Contracts are not.
Not exactly. Oral contracts are binding in most jurisdictions, including in the UK.

Verbal contracts are always formalistically valid--it stands in opposition to implied contracts. Whether or not it is substantially valid is a separate matter, but in that respect it is no different than any other contract. I'm not sure what the point of raising this issue was. You're simply saying (incorrectly) that a verbal contract is legally binding (a category which includes oral contracts), but oral contracts are not, which is self-contradictory.

A verbal contract is simply one that uses words. It does not "[legally] refer to a written contract" at all. Oral contracts are one kind of verbal contract.
There is apparently much confusion between the two. :p
Indeed.

GoCubsGo
Nov 30, 2007, 07:45 PM
Thanks for the obvious. Anyone with two ounces of brain would have already considered this.

For me to continue paying Sprint for another 11 months is 780 dollars. 150 to get out is nothing in comparison to waiting it out,savings or not.

:rolleyes: Well thank god you're here to help us all along!

Mindflux
Dec 1, 2007, 09:33 AM
:rolleyes: Well thank god you're here to help us all along!


Thanks god you have to interject in nearly every post on the board. What would we do without you?

lusyd
Dec 2, 2007, 09:02 PM
As a general rule, providers will need a proof of residence that you live in an area that they don't service, this is usually utility bills, mortgage or lease, or a driver's license or Government ID. They really don't accept another provider's cell phone contract... they will want some actual proof.

Also, they will make the argument that they DO cover areas - even when you don't get reception there - if there's any skimpy psuedo coverage on their system map. When you ask to be let out of your contract for any place remotely civilized they will refer you to their tech support...

WestonHarvey1
Dec 3, 2007, 11:07 AM
Verbal Contract, or Oral Contract? A verbal contract can imply both oral and written, but is legally used to refer to a written contract.

While Verbal Contracts are legally binding in most jurisdictions, Oral Contracts are not.


There is apparently much confusion between the two. :p

Either way... it is "worth the paper it is printed on". You could only enforce such a contract if both parties admitted it was made. Otherwise, you could go around claiming you had made contracts will all sorts of people and you'd always win.

brvheart
Dec 3, 2007, 12:28 PM
Wirelessly posted (Opera/9.50 (J2ME/MIDP; Opera Mini/4.0.9800/209; U; en))

on a sidenote...

When vzw or other companies change the terms of your contact ie raise txt message price 5 cents or something, you can notify them within 60 days (i believe dont quote me), you might be able to google when the last one was, and get out by arguing that point.

matticus008
Dec 3, 2007, 04:33 PM
Either way... it is "worth the paper it is printed on". You could only enforce such a contract if both parties admitted it was made.
No.

These contracts hold up extremely well. They are well-documented, thoroughly orchestrated systems designed to comply precisely with the requirements of the jurisdictions in which they do business. You can deny all you want that you accepted the renewal when the agent called, but you will have to provide evidence to support that claim (and unless you've recorded the call, you'll have none), because the cellular provider will submit documentation and records creating a rebuttable presumption in their favor. These companies are not your neighbor and the contract is not a random person-to-person agreement which has no evidentiary support.

You're spreading a myth that simply is not true. An oral acceptance of a renewal is legally binding. It is exactly as good as a signature on a piece of paper. This is not a case where it's your word against theirs. It's their word and extensive procedural systems plus documentation of the call and the renewal against your (unconvincing) word.

People have to learn to be more careful if they don't want to be taken advantage of in this context. Agreeing to something thinking it's not binding rarely ends well.

WestonHarvey1
Dec 4, 2007, 03:03 AM
No.

These contracts hold up extremely well. They are well-documented, thoroughly orchestrated systems designed to comply precisely with the requirements of the jurisdictions in which they do business. You can deny all you want that you accepted the renewal when the agent called, but you will have to provide evidence to support that claim (and unless you've recorded the call, you'll have none), because the cellular provider will submit documentation and records creating a rebuttable presumption in their favor. These companies are not your neighbor and the contract is not a random person-to-person agreement which has no evidentiary support.

You're spreading a myth that simply is not true. An oral acceptance of a renewal is legally binding. It is exactly as good as a signature on a piece of paper. This is not a case where it's your word against theirs. It's their word and extensive procedural systems plus documentation of the call and the renewal against your (unconvincing) word.

People have to learn to be more careful if they don't want to be taken advantage of in this context. Agreeing to something thinking it's not binding rarely ends well.

Great, whatever. You're right. I didn't get out of my Sprint contract. I'm a liar.

You're also right about verbal contracts. They're just so easy to enforce. I just made a million bucks by claiming a bunch of local restaurants agreed to pay me for a soup recipe I don't really have.

Oh, and if you want to put someone you don't like in prison, all you have to do is accuse them of rape! I hear they don't ven investigate after you do that.

goosnarrggh
Dec 4, 2007, 07:28 AM
Great, whatever. You're right. I didn't get out of my Sprint contract. I'm a liar.
I don't doubt you - I have no reason to do so, since this really is just a case of your word against ... well... nobody... It seems that you had a lucky encounter. It's not safe to assume that everyone will have an equivalent experience.

You're also right about verbal contracts. They're just so easy to enforce.
Apparently you haven't been following the whole thread. You're getting terms confused which have already been explained here. Verbal contracts are defined as contracts whose terms are set down in words. It doesn't matter if those words are in written form or spoken form - they are both forms of verbal contracts.

A contract written down and signed on a piece of paper is a "written contract". It is also a form of "verbal contract".

A contract agreed to by spoken words is an "oral contract". It is also a form of "verbal contract".

I just made a million bucks by claiming a bunch of local restaurants agreed to pay me for a soup recipe I don't really have.
That is a my-word-against-theirs situation, where it is likely that neither side can produce any evidence to back up their case.

Totally different from the documented paper trail that phone companies procedurally build up - they have a computer record of the date and time that they established contact with you via a phone call. They keep track of each instance where, during the course of the call, one operator transfers you to another one (eg the contract termination desk). In this case it is not just an instance of my-word-against-theirs... It is my-word-against-their-documented-evidence-to-the-contrary.

It is entirely possible that sometimes (maybe even more often than not) the cost of assembling a coherent summary of this evidence is greater than the money they'd bring in from the early termination fee - and in that case, they may decide to hedge their losses and let the agreement slide. That doesn't make the agreement any less binding, if they were determined to prove their point at any cost.

Oh, and if you want to put someone you don't like in prison, all you have to do is accuse them of rape! I hear they don't ven investigate after you do that.
The burden of proof in any criminal matter (such as rape) is proof beyond a reasonable doubt. This stems from the basic tenant that is is better that 10 guilty men should be set free than that 1 innocent man should be falsely convicted.

The burden in civil matters is less stringent - typically the standard is the greater preponderance of evidence - whichever side has better than 50% of the evidence pointing in his favour wins.

kyrow123
Dec 4, 2007, 08:15 AM
I find it amusing how people believe these contracts they enter into have not been reviewed by corporate lawyers paid by these huge cellphone companies. They have billions of dollars, there is no way that they have not yet thought of something you think they haven't to get out of a contract.

I believe the only way that you can claim that your 'oral contract' would not be a legally binding contract is if you claim your mental health does not allow you to make legally binding contracts. Otherwise, deal with it.

djtech
Dec 4, 2007, 11:02 PM
I have multiple family members who are lawyers and spoke to them about this issue.
According to them, any contract that takes over 1 year to complete must be signed in order to be binding.
I will give you my case:
I signed up for sprint in 2002 (just an example year, not actual year of signup) and signed a 2 year contract.
My phone broke, and in order to get a new phone, I renewed the contract over the phone. Every 2 years or so, this happened and I renewed the contract (over the phone).
The thing is, only the first contract (that expired in 2004) was binding, meaning that all of my others don't matter.
If sprint argues, I will ask my family members (the lawyers) to talk to them. My family members get hired by large companies (for example, B of A), so they do know what they are talking about.

Right now I am deciding if I should call Sprint before or after I activate the iPhone...
Any ideas?

matticus008
Dec 4, 2007, 11:45 PM
I have multiple family members who are lawyers and spoke to them about this issue.
According to them, any contract that takes over 1 year to complete must be signed in order to be binding.
Your family members are referring to the Statute of Frauds, and they are partially correct. A contract for the performance of an act (e.g. construction project, completion of artwork) or the conveyance of goods where performance is not to be completed within one year is required to be in writing.

An ongoing service arrangement (e.g. cellular or Internet service) is not generally subject to that provision, nor are option contracts. In order to raise and perfect such a defense, further, you must demonstrate that you are not relying on the ongoing performance of that service at that price--something very difficult to do if you continue to use the phone. You can certainly use the statute to renege on an agreement if you act quickly and may successfully get the termination fee waived. But if you pay your bill and use the phone, a court will not hand you a free pass.

brvheart
Dec 7, 2007, 12:45 PM
Wirelessly posted (Opera/9.50 (J2ME/MIDP; Opera Mini/4.0.9800/209; U; en))

it would cost way more to get it out of it in court then it would just to pay the ETF anyways...

s0upb0ne
Dec 7, 2007, 04:21 PM
This worked for me in August.

Sprint increased their free for "international roaming" by 0.05 cents in August. I called Sprint and asked the CSR about the 'material change' in the contract (BTW they are required to send what is called a "white sheet' that annouces the change with your bill). I related that the 0.05 cent was something I could not afford (I occasionly use my phone when I go to the caribeen).

I asked to be let out my contract without the ETF. They put me on hold for 15 mnutes and came back offering me a credit. I politely declined and they OK'd. I asked for the CSR ID number and noted the time.

LAter the hey tried to charge me the ETF, but I gave them the CSRs # and they relented.

I have been a Sprint-free ETF-free iphone user since August

matticus008
Dec 8, 2007, 03:27 AM
Sprint increased their free for "international roaming" by 0.05 cents in August. I called Sprint and asked the CSR about the 'material change' in the contract (BTW they are required to send what is called a "white sheet' that annouces the change with your bill).
Yes. If they change the terms of their service during your agreement term, you will either be grandfathered under your current terms or they will allow you out of your contract (without early termination penalties).

The only problem with this approach is that it relies on an external event (a change in terms), and user action within 30 days. You're also not guaranteed a release if they choose to continue to honor your original agreement.

Obviously it's worth a shot if the circumstances allow.

TurboSC
Dec 8, 2007, 09:03 PM
I posted my Verizon contract on CellSwapper and CellTradeUSA but I don't really remember which contact was from where, but it enabled potential buyers to contact me and setup a transfer pretty painlessly.

I highly recommend it if you're trying to get out of your contract.

s0upb0ne
Dec 12, 2007, 07:33 PM
I think you wanna go here..

http://consumerist.com/consumer/cell-phones/sprint-mails-customers-a-get-out-of-sprint-free-card-332782.php

jeny.342
May 30, 2008, 05:54 PM
Either way... it is "worth the paper it is printed on". You could only enforce such a contract if both parties admitted it was made. Otherwise, you could go around claiming you had made contracts will all sorts of people and you'd always win.
I tried CellSwapper and it didn't work for me.
CelTadeUSA worked but now that I'm in Germany, I need one for Germany...lol
I found the Canadian one CellClients.com but it seems like there isn't a company who is doing this in Germany....If anyone knows of one, please let me know.

Walter P Henson
May 30, 2008, 07:20 PM
The ability to get out of contracts is pretty easy I've had alot of people I know do it. Especially if you didn't call to renew your contract as it can be done in store. In my case I had a nice LG sliderphone that one of the keys stopped working on. I took it to the store and the guy said they couldn't fix it because it was no longer in production, so he said "but i can give you this phone for free" I was like why the hell not and he kept my old one. I figured that this was just gratis but little did I know he renewed my contract straight up. at no point in the conversation did he state he would be doing so in order for me to get my phone. Not only is this undocumented but I'm sure there is nothing I have signed and there is little evidence to show that I agreed to a contract extension. It's an easy out really cell companies aren't gonna get all up in arms about every little complaint.

artward22
May 30, 2008, 09:57 PM
My last verizon bill had some fine print that said they raised the "administrative fee" from $0.70 to $0.85 per line (family plan). It said to refer to my user agreement for details. The user agreement says that when this fee is raised, after 60 days they will assume I am okay with the change, but during that 60 day window I can get out of my contract without penalty.

I called verizon just to ask if this was legit and they confirmed that it was. This weekend I'm switching to ATT and then upgrading to an iphone in a few weeks.

The moral of the story: read your bill carefully and look for these tiny fees.

pcorrado
May 30, 2008, 10:41 PM
Either way... it is "worth the paper it is printed on". You could only enforce such a contract if both parties admitted it was made. Otherwise, you could go around claiming you had made contracts will all sorts of people and you'd always win.

First of all - the entire US is not bound by one set of contract law - in fact it can vary per state - but it it fairly substantially the same thing in every state - but generally in the United States, in order for a contract to be valid, among other things, it needs to comply with the Statute of Frauds - failure to comply will make the contract non-enforceable and voidable, although not void (there is a distinct legal difference and performing a contract substantially even though it is voidable, may make a court allow it to be enforced).

One of the requirements of the statute of frauds is that a contract not able to be performed within one year must be written - as such, your two year service agreement must be written down.

However, a verbal assent to a written agreement may qualify in some jurisdictions (there would have to be documented evidence of this of course). Also, online click through/shrink wrap/browse-wrap contracts are valid per the 7th Circuit's Decision in ProCD and its progeny. In addition, acceptance of consideration is enough to bind you to a contract which may be in writing on a receipt or even by merely writing something on the packaging of the phone that says use of this phone and x service is subject to terms and conditions available here - which would point you to the written contract terms of the contract you just agreed to by buying the phone.

This of course means several things in the cell phone situation, first they have to be written somewhere, but electronic documentation and consent may qualify - Second renewal its not necessarily a new contract, but agreement to continue to honor an existing contract and that may not need to be in writing. Now with the sprint store and purchasing the phone, there may have been a written consent on the box or the receipt and your act of acceptance would be enough to make the contract valid - sucks but be careful and don't be afraid to ask sales people questions. Also, even if the contracts were voidable, they did provide you service for x months and you paid for x months - as far as equity is concerned there is a real contract between you and the carrier that will be enforced.

Of course no company is going to litigate 170.00 dollars so its worth an argument.

alphaod
May 30, 2008, 11:31 PM
Someone will probably want your first-gen iPhone with only 6 months left on the contract.

6 months? You surely mean a year and half!

And this has been going on for ages.

artward22
May 31, 2008, 07:02 PM
My last verizon bill had some fine print that said they raised the "administrative fee" from $0.70 to $0.85 per line (family plan). It said to refer to my user agreement for details. The user agreement says that when this fee is raised, after 60 days they will assume I am okay with the change, but during that 60 day window I can get out of my contract without penalty.

I called verizon just to ask if this was legit and they confirmed that it was. This weekend I'm switching to ATT and then upgrading to an iphone in a few weeks.

The moral of the story: read your bill carefully and look for these tiny fees.

UPDATE:

switched to ATT and called verizon to get out of the early termination fee. It took a full hour on the phone. They kept trying to say that I was wrong, but I was persistent, eventually reading them the paragraph from my customer agreement. It says:

"Our Rights to Make Changes
Your service is subject to our business policies, practices and procedures, which we can change without notice. UNLESS OTHERWISE PROHIBITED BY LAW, WE CAN ALSO CHANGE PRICES AND ANY OTHER CONDITIONS IN THIS AGREEMENT AT ANY TIME BY SENDING YOU WRITTEN NOTICE PRIOR TO THE BILLING PERIOD IN WHICH THE CHANGES WOULD GO INTO EFFECT. IF YOU CHOOSE TO USE YOUR SERVICE AFTER THAT POINT, YOU’RE ACCEPTING THE CHANGES. IF THE CHANGES HAVE A MATERIAL ADVERSE EFFECT ON YOU, HOWEVER, YOU CAN END THE AFFECTED SERVICE, WITHOUT ANY EARLY TERMINATION FEE, JUST BY CALLING US WITHIN 60 DAYS AFTER WE SEND NOTICE OF THE CHANGE."

They eventually agreed I was right and waived the early termination fee. My operator said she had 5 supervisors behind her arguing about whether or not this was legit. In the end they agreed it was legit. The wording in the contract is pretty clear-cut in my opinion.

matticus008
May 31, 2008, 09:43 PM
They eventually agreed I was right and waived the early termination fee. My operator said she had 5 supervisors behind her arguing about whether or not this was legit. In the end they agreed it was legit. The wording in the contract is pretty clear-cut in my opinion.
It is legitimate, and they know it is. They just intentionally irritate you and try to act like they're going to deny your claim to see if you'll cave. It's a game of chicken, and it's irritating, but it's what they do.

One Canadian cellular provider, upon cutting their free minutes allowance, actually did refuse to terminate the contract and threatened to send the account to collections. Unfortunately for them, they had also claimed a credit on a cell phone "sale" to me that never took place (I had always used my Windows Mobile device at the time, and no other IMEI had connected to their network, not to mention there was a notation on the original invoice that it was an activation of a prior handset). Needless to say, they were bluffing.

The point is that if there is a change in terms, document your calls and conversations. If they refuse to honor the provision, send them a certified letter showing (a) the dates, times, and names, and events of customer service calls, (b) the original terms you agreed to, (c) the change in rates or service, (d) your firm rejection of that change to the terms, and (e) notification that after the current billing cycle, you will no longer be honoring any bills sent to you.

If you're unsure if the terms have materially changed, consult an attorney (your city probably has a legal aid clinic which will meet with you for free for consumer rights issues).

DiamondMac
Jun 1, 2008, 02:31 PM
UPDATE:

switched to ATT and called verizon to get out of the early termination fee. It took a full hour on the phone. They kept trying to say that I was wrong, but I was persistent, eventually reading them the paragraph from my customer agreement. It says:

"Our Rights to Make Changes
Your service is subject to our business policies, practices and procedures, which we can change without notice. UNLESS OTHERWISE PROHIBITED BY LAW, WE CAN ALSO CHANGE PRICES AND ANY OTHER CONDITIONS IN THIS AGREEMENT AT ANY TIME BY SENDING YOU WRITTEN NOTICE PRIOR TO THE BILLING PERIOD IN WHICH THE CHANGES WOULD GO INTO EFFECT. IF YOU CHOOSE TO USE YOUR SERVICE AFTER THAT POINT, YOU’RE ACCEPTING THE CHANGES. IF THE CHANGES HAVE A MATERIAL ADVERSE EFFECT ON YOU, HOWEVER, YOU CAN END THE AFFECTED SERVICE, WITHOUT ANY EARLY TERMINATION FEE, JUST BY CALLING US WITHIN 60 DAYS AFTER WE SEND NOTICE OF THE CHANGE."

They eventually agreed I was right and waived the early termination fee. My operator said she had 5 supervisors behind her arguing about whether or not this was legit. In the end they agreed it was legit. The wording in the contract is pretty clear-cut in my opinion.

As 008 said, when it comes to things of this nature with companies like that, it takes a LOT of persistence and you need to be prepared with your information

If you do both, you can win even though they will try their best to sway you from your stance

I have had previous arguments with AT&T in the past over my bill and it took me arguing with a supervisor to the point of me telling him I had no trouble going to court (as I am a lawyer) until they called me back "later" agreeing to what my stance was