Get Out Of Your Sprint Cellphone Contract Without A Penalty

One good way to get out of your cell phone contract without paying the fat penalty is to wait for them to change your contract terms. I believe by law if they change your contract, you can either accept or cancel within 30 days without any fees.

The Consumerist reports that Sprint is adding some new charges as of January 1st, 2008. I don’t remember seeing this change on my Sprint bill, but many users on the SprintUsers forum have reported success canceling their contracts without fees, and one posted this as part of a conversation with a Sprint representative.

Sprints current policy as read by account services: “On Jan. 1st 2008 Sprint customers who have been affected by the fees, [consumer and IL customers], will have their ETF waived if they wish to terminate their contract. There will be no post-dating of cancellation where the ETF will be waived as only customers affected by the new surcharges will be eligible.”

If you want out of your Sprint contract, or just want to get some fresh new-contract deals, it may be worth a call. Even if you just jump ship to the Sprint SERO plan. :)

As for other carriers, I just ran across this “roaming hack” which supposedly lets you cancel with any wireless provider by placing a ton of calls while roaming. The idea is that you will make yourself and unprofitable customer that way, and they’ll just “fire” you. Not sure if it works though.

Comments

  1. 1kportfolio says:

    Might try that roaming hack in the future — or after a few people have verified it to work. The blog entry’s attached picture didn’t state anything about international roaming… i wonder.

    I’ve roamed in country before and the tab was passed onto me. :( when the phone actually _works_ that is… And with international, I swear AT&T turns it off roaming capabilities every few months.

  2. This roaming hack used to work before the cell phone companies got smart and made it so that you pay for any roaming over 50% of your minutes. This is pretty standard now with all the companies.

  3. Ted Valentine says:

    Why would you suggest someone use a roaming hack? That’s unscrupulous. If a cell phone company was using unscrupulous tactics, you’d be posting really nasty articles exposing them (rightfully). If its not right for them, its not for consumers either.

  4. Jonathan, do you know if what The Saving Freak says applies to SERO? I don’t remember seeing this in their terms.

  5. Can I keep my number while cancelling this way?

  6. I’m happy with Sprint, but if I ever need to cancel, I’ll be sure to follow these steps.

  7. The roaming hack doesn’t work because you just end up paying the extra charges. That’s the way with Verizon Wireless as well. Interesting idea though.

    I tried to cancel one of my Verizon shared plans when they changed the text messaging rates and terms. Didn’t work. They will fight tooth and nail against allowing you to bail on them. :(
    -Raymond

  8. Large Talons says:

    Ted,

    Unscrupulous tactics? You mean like locking your phone so that something you own is useless with any other carrier? Or like AT&T charging people thousands of dollars in foreign data roaming fees because they couldn’t turn off their data access? Or how about every major phone carrier handing over your phone records to the NSA without warrants? Or maybe you’re referring to long distance companies baiting and switching consumers into signing up for their ridiculously priced and unneeded services… ect. The roaming hack is simply a way to take advantage of the contract terms to allow you to drop a company that your unhappy with in the first place. Not to mention that they don’t exactly go out of their way to make the contract easy to understand, or ensure that the consumer is fully aware of all the terms contained within. Besides, why the hell do I have to sign a contract to make a damn phone call in the first place? You don’t think companies use “unscrupulous tactics” when they take advantage of the contract terms created by their massive law machine? The consumer needs any advantage we can find in those things just to have a leg to stand on. Hopefully Google will get its way and we’ll finally see some real competition in this space when the TV spectrum is auctioned. Of course, knowing the FCC, I’m sure they’ll be willing to sell our rights to the highest bidder.

  9. The “roaming” charge is so 1990s. When in the world is this charge going to be laid to rest?

  10. looking_around12732 says:

    If you use this to cancel your sprint contract, does that actually cancel your current service? Or, does this just allow you to step away from being bound to your 1 to 2 year contract?

    Thanks!

  11. I got SERO. I love it and would never want to get out of Sprint. However, in time like this..it’s best to get some perks while you can. Yes, you just need to call them up and talk to RETENTION. Then ask to cancel your phone without the ETF fee.

    I’m positively sure they will ask you to stay and offer you perks. Here you can negotiate. Maybe you want 6pm for free, free text, free vision, or a 20% discount on all future bills. Any two or three combinations would work.

    Happy Holidays

  12. Sprint sent out post cards with the change in terms. I received mine last week. Kinda tricky b/c I usually just toss the post cards because they are junk mail

  13. If I turn my Sprint SERO 2-yr contract into a month-to-month plan, do I still receive all the SERO benefits? Thank you!

  14. If I turn my Sprint SERO 2-yr contract into a month-to-month plan, do I still get all the SERO benefits? Thank you!

  15. Is there anyway to cancel my current sprint contract with this method and get onto the SERO plan but keep my existing phone number?

  16. I understand the frustration of being stuck in a cell contract with a termination fee. That said, my feeling is, you did choose to sign up under those conditions, right? As far as I know, every cell company has an option where you don’t have to pay a termination fee – you don’t get as good a deal for your money, but that’s the choice you make.

    The cell companies are offering you a special deal (cheaper phone, lower monthly cost) in exchange for your promise to keep their service for some length of time. It’s a volume discount, pure and simple. The termination fee option is, in fact, more than most companies offer you with similar volume discounts. Can you imagine what Costco would say if you came in and told them you didn’t need two gallons of barbeque sauce this month, after all, and you’d like a refund for the gallon you were bringing back.

  17. Sure, you agree to the contract. But if they change the terms of that contract, I think it’s totally within your rights to be allowed of that contract. Essentially they are breaking the contract, and are asking you “is that okay?”.

    What if we as consumers decided that we would pay 50 cents less each month if we pay on time (as opposed to a raised late fee by them)? I doubt that would fly. It should work both ways.

  18. Jonathan – I would agree, if they change the contract in a way that affects you negatively (or even possibly affect you – in your previous post of getting out of your contract, even though you hadn’t paid a late fee before, there’s every chance that you would have over the course of the contract), you should be able to cancel the contract. I was speaking more about the methods such as the roaming game that you linked to, where someone just wants to get out of the contract agreed to.

    As for it working both ways, I think you are saying that if the cell phone company can change the terms anytime they want, why can’t we? That one’s easy – the contract you agreed to says they can, but it doesn’t say you can. If you don’t like those terms, you don’t sign up for the service.

  19. OMG I just got a postcard in the mail from them about the new terms and I was wondering if that was the loophole I needed to break free.
    Thanks!

  20. I think this is a great loop hole to have found in contracts – but How can you tell when they change the details? Do you always hav to be notified in writing?

  21. Anyone know whether you can keep your phone number if you opt out of the Sprint contract and then get the SERO?

  22. This is what Jonathan recommended in his previous Sprint SERO post as a way to keep your number:

    “Apparently one way around this is to port your number to a cheap prepaid phone first.

    Old Sprint -> Prepaid -> Sprint SERO”

    Thanks Jonathan! Boost (Mobile) here i come…for 1 month!!

  23. Has anyone been successful at this?

  24. The card says nothing about not having to pay the ECF and sprint cust service says this is a federally mandated tax so it doesnt qualify. SOL.

  25. Rob – it says it is NOT a federally mandated tax right on the card I got. Thus, they are changing the terms (never mind the other changes listed on the website) and you are allowed to get out of the agreement. You are not SOL – there are Sprint customers everywhere telling how they called and got out, and I plan on doing the same this week.

  26. I havent recieved anything in the mail. I dont get paper bills they come thru email, is that why? I really need to cancel, help!

  27. I got the card. It doesn’t qualify you to get out of an ETF. Period. Unless of course you cancel and decide not to pay then it will become a collection item.

  28. Thank you for contacting Sprint. I understand you wish to port out the number due to the increase in the Administrative and Regulatory charges.

    I sincerely apologize for the inconvenience you have experienced due to the increase in these charges and will be glad to assist you regarding the rate increase.

    Yes, the Administrative and Regulatory charges will be increased effective January 01, 2008. There will be an increase of $0.40 for these charges on each subscription of the account.

    Let me share with you that the Early Termination Fee can be waived within 30 days from the date the increased charges reflect on your invoice. So, I request you to wait till the generation of the next invoice. As soon as your next invoice is generated, you can contact your new service provider and initiate the process to port out your Sprint PCS phone number. Please make sure not to cancel your services with Sprint before initiating the port-out process. Once the phone number is successfully ported out, your services with Sprint will be automatically canceled.

    Please be assured that the account will not be charged the Early Termination Fee as long as you initiate the port out request within 30 days from the date the charges appear on your invoice.

    We would be disappointed to lose you as a customer and request you to reconsider your decision. Please reply back to us and advise how you wish to proceed and how we can help assist you as a customer to keep your business.

    If you have any further concerns, please write back to me and I will be glad to assist you in the best possible way.

    It was a pleasure assisting you and I look forward to more opportunities to serve you in future. Have a great day!

    Austin G.

  29. Nice, Cisco925. Let me bold the important part:

    Yes, the Administrative and Regulatory charges will be increased effective January 01, 2008. There will be an increase of $0.40 for these charges on each subscription of the account. Let me share with you that the Early Termination Fee can be waived within 30 days from the date the increased charges reflect on your invoice. So, I request you to wait till the generation of the next invoice.

  30. I have been waiting for this to happen !!!!!! YES !!!!! i hate sprint. they are the worst ! they called me and told me they wanted to send me a free gift phone one day and i told them no thank you i just bought one a month ago they told me i could keep it as a back up or i could sell it. i still declined and was confused as to why the wanted to give me a pc. of crap phone. anyways , 2 days later all the sudden a new phone arrives. i called them and sent it back the next day telling them i didnt want the phone . the phone was the cheapest phone they had made by a company i had never even heard of. 2 weeks later i paid my usual $85 over the phone and went about my day. 2 days later my phone gets turned off. I call them up and i get informed that my account is past due in the amount of around $275. they signed me up for a 2 phone plan, they charged me over $200 for the phone(that i sent back unopened) and said i was under contract for 2 phones for 2 years. I AM A SINGLE PERSON !!!! I DONT NEED A 2 PHONE PLAN !!!!! ARGH!!!!!! i told them i sent the phone back and they said it would be off my bill the next billing cycle and that i still needed to pay the $275 to get service turned back on. after an hour on the phone arguing i got hung up on. over the next couple of days i had the same results. getting hung up on every time i asked for a supervisor. i spent a total of 9 hours on the phone and went a week without service before i finally got the issue resolved. also, they started my 2 yr contract over and said they couldnt do anything about that. SHADY SALES TACTICS, TERRIBLE CUSTOMER SUPPORT. WHY WOULD I STAY IF I DONT HAVE TO.
    TTFITZ YOU ARE A TOTAL ASS IF YOU THINK I SIGNED UP FOR ALL OF THAT. THATS THE REASON THAT PEOPLE WANT OUT. I DO NOT DO BUISNESS WITH CAMPANIES THAT LIE LIKE SPRINT DOES.
    TERRIBLE WAY TO CONDUCT BUISNESS.

  31. I did this just right now and it worked! :) The guy helping me out was really nice so i felt kind of bad but I had to do what I had to do.

    They tried to offer me a bunch of other things like a free phone and a 10% rebate but politely just tell them that you appreciate the offer but you’d just like to cancel it. I think they’ll do it for anyone although he made it seem like I had to “qualify” for it.

    Whatever I’m out… :)

  32. Nextel sucks ever since Sprint which is french for screw the customer, took over. I have been cheated out of a $50 rebate, a $ 40 referral, and my Mom out of a $ 25 referral. A new phone worked for (1) month then took a big steaming Sprint. I have to drive 50 miles to a Sprint store that has a less than technical tech. He couldn’t fix it so he tells me to drive 50 miles in another direction to try to get it fixed. Nextel won’t stand behind their products. The cust service people (most of whom, butcher the english language) don’t care about you, at all! You are a number, That’s it. The price goes up, the service goes down. I am trying to piss them off so THEY cancel my (3) phones, then THEY screw themselves instead of me. I will change to Verizon that very day. I got NexripoffTel because of the people I do business with. Most of them have since dropped NexTardTel. So why should I keep it. I can’t DC them anymore. They do business the NEW american why, screw the customer, claim bankruptcy, change your name, and do it again. If you can do business right, DIE commie bastards.

  33. I don’t think that “roaming hack” works. I’ve lived in MD for 1.5 yrs with a phone from WA (3000 miles away) and I just pay my regular bill of $29 + tax for 200 mins.
    I did fight for 2 months because I signed up for 1 yr and they put me in a 2yr contract, I was in MD then, and they didn’t care. In fact, I was going to change the phone to MD but they told me that it would be a new contract (start again the 2yr thing).
    The good news is that it expires by the end of Feb, I’m getting prepaid phones from now on.

  34. I called Sprint today to cancel the service on my mobile broadband card (has the same time of termination/monthly fee structure as a normal cell phone account). I was going to switch to AT&T as I liked the wireless card design better, but Sprint offered me $20/month off through the remainder of my term (another 18 months). Upon declining that, they offered me $25/month discount which I accepted. So my total cost is $35/month rather than $60 previously…not bad; thanks!

  35. I had Sprint for over 10 years, but didn’t renew mine or my son’s plans. When my son moved away, I called to cancel his phone. They put me on hold for an hour, made me speak to several people (the last person told me to find someone to take his line), and after harassing me, he advised that they had to do further research. By now I was on the phone over 2 hours. I told him to call me back – he never did. I called back again and this time I was so upset that I told them to cancel my phone as well. The next month I got a bill for $300 in cancellation fees! I called and disputed the charges. They promised it would not go to a collection agency. Next thing I get a collection notice! I told the collection company my story and they said Sprint has to respond in 45 days. Sprint hasn’t responded and it’s been 2 month. Oh, and I also have proof that my plans expired – right off of Sprint’s website!

  36. It Works!!!!! I finally got rid of Sprint. Just make sure your charges did went up in your Area.

  37. First, let me say that I’ve been with Sprint for about 10 years and I’m generally satisfied. However, I got one of those postcards and I was really pissed off. No sooner do the thieving politicians give you a break from their incessant taxes than Sprint literally RUSHES in to replace the taxes with their own fees. That’s really low and petty. Sure, you can cancel your contract when they change their terms, but then what am I supposed to do with my phone that’s locked into Sprint? As for using lots of roaming minutes to get out of your contract, I recently moved from NYC to a small town where I’m always roaming, and they don’t seem to care, even with over 800 min/mo. I’m on their Roam America plan or something like that so there’s no extra charge. Also, I have an aircard for my laptop, and all of that usage is roaming, so I can’t really complain. That probably costs them a pretty penny.

  38. i tried to get the employee referral but i have an existing sprint line and they state it is only for new lines,numbers and they can not switch me to the employee referral plan. too bad cause the unlimited data plus the 1250 minutes for 50$ is good considering i have 1400 min now for 80$ and to buy 500 minutes is only $5 a month.

  39. IT WORKS lol just the day before my mother goes see if they will pro rate us to get out because we are just a few months away googles this last night and i did it today and no fees whatsoever. Man i hated it lol sprint service that is( they were good to me though with very low rates but service just sucks so do the phones) Dont let them in on why you really want to get out just say sorry i just dont agree with those regulatory changes and admin fees that you changed. They will keep giving you offers for phones great rates just say no thanks but im going to get out due to those changes. They will also try to tell you that you cant do it, or that the 30 days was from the 1-1-08 say sorry but its 30 days from my bill it appears on. Try it some people have to call back a few times mine was 10 to 15 tops and most of it was trying to get me to stay. If you are a sprint cust and just want to get better deals and do want to get out call and complain they offered free phones and a contract of 1000 mins for 50 bucks on all lines and 5 dollar a month credit. So i hope this helps people who want to get out i didnt believe it but it worked first try. Thanks to whoever posted this in the first place

  40. vikings333 says:

    This is great news. You said the charges were changed on January 1st 2008, and you have 30 days from then to drop without ETF. What should i do since its been more than 30 days? Thanks for the help.

  41. I just called today and they told me i was not entitled because they are ‘federally mandated charges’. I told them that I was reading a page on their website that specifically stated that they weren’t and they let me off.. So this definitely works.

  42. vikings333 says:

    please someone like you Justin, give me the exact words to say. I have tries to cancel but no luck. I have 4 lines and am not going to pay $800. So please give me some help….Thanks

  43. I have Sprint with two extra lines. When my daughter got her new phone last year SHE signed the contract and it re-started a two-year contract. She is only 17 can I get her line voided because she is a minor. Also when my husband and I divorce my younger daughter took over his line.. they now have it in her name also a minor. However my phone is only 6 months old and it is too late to get out under the changes made in January anyone have any ideas?

  44. I hate Sprint so much, ive called them a few time and ended up insulting them and saying a few nasty words. When i first started service with them, I wanted to port in my number from Virgin Mobile (prepaid service) and they did, but when did they did that they had 2 phones on my account, the one i wanted ported in and another new number. They were charging me for the new phone (which I never asked for and nerver received) and i get 2 bills every month for a service that i never asked for and never use. I called customer service like 20 times now and they said they are going to delete that second line and never do. Now my service keeps getting disconnected consistently because i keep going over my spending limit due to stupid second line. And thats not all, im paying $10 for unlimited text messaging and text messages sent from people who have other providers other than sprint i dont receive. Im only receiving text messages from people with sprint, what kind of shit is that? isnt text messaging suppose to work regardless of what provider the person sending me the message has? I hate Sprint and im going to cancel very soon and if they charge me that stupid early termination fee, im not going to pay it even if they damage my credit. Why should i have to pay a cancellation fee when im cancelling my service because of the hard time they are giving me. Its their fault that im cancelling so i aint gonna pay a stupid company like that shit. I dont understand how such a bad company like that have so many customers. All Sprint customers are stupid to be doing business and becoming customers with them.

  45. John, you’ve got to learn how to talk to people to get what you want, including customer service. If you’re exploding after every mistake somebody makes and start insulting them, they are much less motivated to fix anything. Let alone going any extra miles for you. Now they might even consider you a lost customer anyway. I don’t know your situation of cause, but based on your comment I’d say there is 30% of Sprint’s fault and 70% portion is yours.
    My personal opinion is that Sprint’s SERO plan is the best value in this country among contract plans. And if you’re polite and patient with customer service you can make it even better deal like many did asking them to enable unlimited text messaging or/and making nights start from 6pm all for free on their accounts. Or maybe even get a $5 monthly discount off a $30/month plan! This topic was heavily discussed on slickdeals.net and it doesn’t make sense to go over the details here. Point is that people who manage to get all or some of the perks are anything but stupid.

  46. how do I Cancel Sprint without paying an early termination fee (ETF)!
    I got 5 phones on my account. one ends in april and nov 08. others in 09

  47. Here’s a Sprint horror story for you. I have been a Sprint customer for about 8 years with no problems until 1 year ago. I owned my own business and had added lines of service to allow for communication between my employees, our two locations and while visiting customers.

    Two years ago, we sold one location and ended up with two extra phones. I ended up giving them to my teenagers who had reached the age that they needed something for emergencies. They honestly did well with them, but the phones were basically junk and I replaced them a year ago. Not long after that, we closed the original location, but I still had 6 lines of service and 4 users. With the exception of the two lines for my kids, the other 4 should have been done with their contract at the end of March.

    Now the problem. When I upgraded the two phones and modified the services for those lines, our plans got totally screwed up. Every month, I would get the bill and one service or another had been dropped and I had anywhere from $150 to $300 in extra fees. I would call to get it fixed, they would fix that part and some times they would credit me and others they said it was my responsibility. Now, when you change a plan, you can’t review the minutes or anything on line until the next billing cycle hits…and of course, another part of the service would be dropped and once again, extra charges. After six months of this and taking several hours every month to fix, I gave up. I bided my time until April when I could drop my service.

    I set up service with AT&T and got 4 new phones and my service set up. I called Sprint to cancel and was informed that when I purchased those two phones, all 6 lines were started onto a new 2 year contract. Now what is that all about? Not only had they changed my contract unbeknownst to me, they no longer show on line when your contract expires so there was no way for me to know. I could look up my phone (they had the primary line set on the wrong one, so I wasn’t able to see all the services from my line), but none of the others and mine was missed so it showed the end of the contract as April 1, 2008. So, I was fat dumb and happy.

    Sprint tells me that I must pay $1200 to cancel. I complained loudly and told them I didn’t care, I just wanted out because of the poor service. So they send me to this top service agent who is able to fix the account and tells me that she can discount my service so it will only cost me $100 per month for the next 12 months, so I have service until the contract is done and I pay the same amount.

    I told her that I was offended that they didn’t have someone competent all those months that I called and lost two hours of my life each time just to have something else messed up. I told her no how no way. She refused to allow me to drop Sprint and said to call her back on Monday when I had time to cool off. No doubt. I was pretty hot over the whole thing.

    My question is, since they changed my contract on the four phones that were unaffected by the new phones, then don’t I have ground to drop them anyway as I have paid my obligation on those four phones? Who do I need to kick it up to so I can get this fixed?

  48. Is it still possible to cancel without early termination fees? I’m a bit confused about what I am supposed to say to them. I desperately want out of my contract. Thanks

  49. Every month Sprint screws up our bill and ridiculously over-charges (or double charges) us for something. Several calls to customer service and threats to switch have done nothing to correct the situation.Request for apology perks have been refused. The ETF would be $200 per phone line. Yes, we were aware of the ETF requirement, however, when we turned over our hard earned money for Sprint’s service we thought we were actually being provided a service. When you aren’t getting you money’s worth (and you’re actually being charged more than you ever agreed to) you should be able to quit doing business with said company. These people are thieves and they use ETF’s as a means of being able to continue their abuse of consumer rights.

  50. Just need to know when the next Sprint contract change happens that will allow us to cancel, without paying a penalt. Please post here when you see one. Thanks.

  51. Phil DeGrave says:

    I have been with sprint for almost nine years now , always payed bills ontime and until lately was content with their services. calling the incompetent customer service will lead to nothing but frustration and confusion.Even when the person you speak to is in america,and english is their first language, i still cannot understand wtf theyre saying. I’ve had alot of problems and charges to dispute lately and have found that contacting them by email,through their website is the only way to get what you want.You are actually able to explain everything without a stupid person interrupting you. just write an eloquent monolougue and be sure to also state your gratitude for theyre time and understanding. a little reverse psych works good. i got $105 taken off my last bill! another thing to do after you get any ammount taken off is write them another email to give the agent that dealt with your case a positive review,and pretend that you are grateful.my challenge now is to get out of my contract without the fees.

  52. Just in case any of you want to get out of your Sprint contract heres how!
    On page 2/7 on your Sprint Bill it will say: Tax & Surcharge Base Changes. Effective 4/1/13, Sprint will be changing tax systems for charges such as insurance & premium content. This update may cause an increase of taxes and/or surcharges on your bill for these products. For details of taxes & surcharges, visit sprint.com/taxesandfees. This is how you get out of it because it is whats called a “Material Change” meaning it will cost you more! You have to call or chat with Sprint before the end of this month (April) or you will not be able to do it.

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