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Old Nov 29, 2007, 10:27 AM   #1
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Getting Out Of Your Contract (without a termination fee)



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 and 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.

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Old Nov 29, 2007, 10:46 AM   #2
darwen
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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!
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Old Nov 29, 2007, 10:49 AM   #3
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I had our Verizon contract up on Celltrade for a year and no inquiries.
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Old Nov 29, 2007, 10:59 AM   #4
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Good idea

Is there a UK equivalent?
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Old Nov 29, 2007, 11:02 AM   #5
joshysquashy
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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
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Old Nov 29, 2007, 11:04 AM   #6
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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.
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Old Nov 29, 2007, 11:40 AM   #7
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Is there a UK equivalent?

http://uk.cellswapper.com/
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Old Nov 29, 2007, 01:19 PM   #8
WestonHarvey1
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Did you sign?

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.
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Old Nov 29, 2007, 01:24 PM   #9
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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.
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Old Nov 29, 2007, 03:11 PM   #10
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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.
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Old Nov 29, 2007, 03:42 PM   #11
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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.
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Old Nov 29, 2007, 03:45 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by WestonHarvey1 View Post

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.
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Old Nov 29, 2007, 03:46 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by poetassium View Post
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.
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Old Nov 29, 2007, 05:37 PM   #14
brownieguy19
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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.
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Old Nov 29, 2007, 06:25 PM   #15
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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?
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Old Nov 29, 2007, 07:49 PM   #16
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Originally Posted by WestonHarvey1 View Post
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.
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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.
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Old Nov 30, 2007, 07:09 AM   #17
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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.
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Old Nov 30, 2007, 10:03 AM   #18
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interesting comments. I never like to sign contracts.
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Old Nov 30, 2007, 10:09 AM   #19
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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.
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Old Nov 30, 2007, 11:03 AM   #20
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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.
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Old Nov 30, 2007, 07:22 PM   #21
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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.
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There is apparently much confusion between the two.
Indeed.
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Old Nov 30, 2007, 07:45 PM   #22
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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.
Well thank god you're here to help us all along!
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Old Dec 1, 2007, 09:33 AM   #23
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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?
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Old Dec 2, 2007, 09:02 PM   #24
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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...
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Old Dec 3, 2007, 11:07 AM   #25
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either way...

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Originally Posted by bigandy View Post
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.
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.
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