Dump Sprint for the iPhone Or How a little social engineering got me out of a Sprint contract with thirteen months left in my two-year plan, and I didnt even have to pay the exorbitant early termination fee. You probably dont need to read this whole thing, because the meat and potatoes are being served now. I **** you not, a Sprint rep actually told me this: "I shouldnt be telling you this, but since Sprint and Nextel have partnered but havent unified their systems, so you can leave Sprint for a Nextel account without getting charged an early termination fee from Sprint. You would assume a new Contract with Nextel, pay the $36 activation fee, and if you are unhappy with Nextel's service you have up to thirty days from the activation date to cancel it. If you return your phone and cancel your plan within that thirty day grace period, your activation fee and any cost of the phone will be refunded, effectively freeing you from any contractual obligation with Nextel or Sprint. So there you go. What follows is a more in-depth account of how I got to that point, and how I ended my contract without even having to go to that length. Surely if you try this yourself, you may go in a few different directions with reps and techs, but this technique seems to work. It requires some patience and brown-nosing, but if it gets you out of your contract, what do you care, you little social-engineering goon? The world is your oyster if youre willing to wade through a little metaphorical backwater. The ultimate trick here is to stay cool. Be a nice guy. Always. Be cheerful on the phone, and explain whatever problems youre having (or inventing for the purposes of escaping a contract). The idea is to make the person on the other end of the phone think to himself Yeah, this dude is totally getting screwed over by Sprint. And you can only do that by never getting irritated. The simple thing is to say that youre having a very hard time getting service in your home. Tell them your bedroom is in the basement or whatever, and you have a call dropped several times a day, or youll get voicemail minutes or hours after someone has called and your phone didnt ring. These are the kinds of vague ghosts that cell networks deal with all the time. Make yourself out to be the cheerful victim calling for help. Second to cheerfulness, the most important thing at this stage is to never say the words cancel or terminate my contract. At this point, make like youre just calling to find out whats up with your favorite cell phone company whom you love and cant understand why they seem to be having trouble with your calls. Let them piece together the solution. The more hopeless you are, especially after establishing how much youve loved their service up to this point, the better. It doesnt hurt to call them late. In my area (central time zone) Sprint closes their call centers at midnight. Calling near to this time will often rush and fluster an employee to either take drastic steps to help you, or make them get rid of you a quickly as possible, which only helps your case the next time you call in, when you can explain how rudely you were treated the last time you called, especially if they didnt log anything, and you have to explain your predicament again. Its one of the cardinal rules of customer service to never make a customer repeat information unnecessarily. Reps should be listening carefully the first time and logging pertinent data. You can rely on the fact that customer service flat out sucks with all mobile phone companies. You will be mishandled by the first-tier support, so remember to subtly mention it down the road to a higher-up, and it becomes another weapon in your manipulative little plan. After a call or two, I was eventually transferred to technical support for some troubleshooting. Technical assistance figured that because I had roommates with the same issue (meaning its probably not a problem with the phone itself) hed schedule a magic Sprint survey van into my neighborhood to test the signal strength. Four days later, they call to inform me that the van found no problems. I accept this solution and end the call. A couple days later I call first-tier customer support again. Again, the rep can do very little, but I still play the whole I love you Sprint game again. This reps solution is to force my phone into roaming mode when I am at home, and switch it back to normal when I leave. Presumably this will keep me covered at home, without using a billion roaming minutes by leaving it on all the time. I again accept this solution and end the call. I began skimming the Terms and Conditions relating to roaming (http://www.sprintpcs.com/common/popups/popLegalTermsPrivacy.html) and found this gem: "Sprint may terminate service if (1) more than 800 minutes, (2) a majority of minutes or (3) a majority of data kilobytes in a given month are used while roaming." So I figured Id found my way out. If I roamed all the time, theyd cut me off and cancel my contract, because Id be costing them more than its worth to keep me as a customer. With that in mind, I called back. After restating my problems and explaining the current fix, I told the rep that I wasnt satisfied with that solution, because of the hassle involved in switching roaming on and off whenever I left my house. At this point I started talking about my contract. I implied that I didnt really know if I was in one. Once the rep explained how much time was remaining until the end of my contract, I resigned myself to having no other option than to speak with someone who can end my contract. The last person I spoke to was in the cancellations department. I immediately and calmly gave her a re-cap of the roaming issue and mentioned the Terms and Conditions statement regarding roaming and contract cancellation. She wasnt aware of the clause, and after speaking with her manager, told me that Sprint rarely cancels an account for that reason. I facetiously asked what else in the Terms and Conditions is rarely invoked, and explained how such an arbitrary policy places me in the awkward position of constantly being fearful of my account being cancelled whenever Sprint may or may not have their druthers, all because I roamed too much on the advice of their own customer service reps. Of course, this puts her in an impossible situation, because no one in his or her right mind would argue that Sprints position is correct. It was at this point that she started bringing up Nextel and the possibility of switching. I was intrigued. I asked about what happens if Im not satisfied with Nextels coverage, and she dropped the bomb: I shouldnt be telling you this, but Now, I didnt have to go to that length. This cancellation rep confirmed for me that the Sprint-to-Nextel method would effectively get me out of my contract. I thanked her for confirming that fact, and asked for a simpler option. Instead of the ruse of switching (Im being completely honest with her here) could they just cancel my contract and waive the early termination fee? She told me that if I faxed in a copy of a utility bill proving my residence, they would see what they could do. I faxed the bill, along with a note asking them to call regarding their decision, which they never did. Wouldnt you know it, Jesus ****ing Christ, they went ahead and cancelled my account at 1AM the next day with absolutely no warning whatsoever. I called the next day with a little bit of a WTF, and found out that they had completely cancelled my contract and credited me the $200 termination fee. Mission ****ing accomplished.