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Cell phone contracts...How to get out of them?

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21 replies to this topic

#1 of 22 OFFLINE   Matt Butler

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Posted December 02 2005 - 10:31 AM

I want out of my Cingular contract and go with someone else. I heard there are ways out of my contract without paying for $150 fine. I think a local TV station ran a special about this recently that I missed.

Any info or help is appreciated. Posted Image
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#2 of 22 OFFLINE   James T

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Posted December 02 2005 - 10:58 AM

As far as I know, there is no way out of it. You can offer your contract to someone else. Then what happens is a transfer of responsibility. If you do that, then you won't have to pay the buyout cost. But like I said, there's no way out of it without a little help.

#3 of 22 OFFLINE   Jay H

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Posted December 02 2005 - 11:01 AM

Other than death? Posted Image

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#4 of 22 OFFLINE   Scott Dautel

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Posted December 02 2005 - 11:48 AM

Sub-lease your cell phone

#5 of 22 OFFLINE   Matt Butler

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Posted December 02 2005 - 12:16 PM

Thanks Scott! I may try that
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#6 of 22 OFFLINE   DustinLC


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Posted December 02 2005 - 01:18 PM

Oh god, I almost dropped to the floor because I missed a post:

lol Posted Image

#7 of 22 OFFLINE   Shane Martin

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Posted December 02 2005 - 03:09 PM

Good luck. Let us know what you end up doing because I know tons of folks that want to get out of their cingular contract. My 2 friends paid the $150 to get out of Cingulars craptacular service. Everyone I know is leaving them.

#8 of 22 OFFLINE   Eric Samonte

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Posted December 03 2005 - 01:07 AM

Wow...and the wife and I have Cingular. So far we have no real issues with the service though we were with ATT before. Other than service being iffy in some areas, what r the other things that seem "crappy"? Also, would Verizon be the best then?

#9 of 22 OFFLINE   Clinton McClure

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Posted December 03 2005 - 02:27 AM

Crappy would define their customer service and commitment to their customers.

Example: Last week the lcd display in my phone went kaput. I could no longer see who I was calling or who was calling me. If not for the simcard, my address book would be lost forever.

I have had the phone for about 2 years (I got it the same day I signed my 2-year service contract in Feb 2004). Not long after I got the phone, I got married (March 2004) and added a line for my wife and she got a phone identical to mine. We got her on the family talk plan so we can share minutes and both phones show up on the same bill. This past August she wanted a camera phone so we went to the Cingular store and they were happy to upgrade her phone if we would extend her contract two years. She had only been under contract for 17 months but she qualified for an upgrade. I was reluctant but finally agreed. Even after the 2-year extension to her contract, the phone was still a tad over $100.

Anyway, fast forward to last Sunday evening when my display goes out. I go to the Cingular store Monday morning and tell them I need a new phone. The guy pulls up my account and tells me since I've had my phone almost 2 years it's out of warranty but I'm not eligible for an upgrade until June of 2006 and I'll have to pay full retail price for a phone. June of frikkin' 06? When did that happen? I signed my 2 year contract in Feb of 04! Not June of 04, but Feb of 04. That's four months after my contract expires. The employee isn't swayed a bit and says that's what his computer tells him and he can't override the system. He goes on to tell me I'm stuck between a rock and a hard place and it really sucks and would I like to purchase a new phone for full retail price? I ask why my wife was eligible for an upgrade/contract extension after only 17 months but I was not eligible for the same thing after 21 months. I'm greeted with the universal sign of ignorance...the shrug. I ask to see the manager who turns out to be him and would I like to purchase a new phone because I'm not eligible for an upgrade for another 7 months.

Sensing I can't possibly win and I may very well stroke out if I continue to parlay with the Lord of the Cingular store, I keep my cool and ask for his supervisor's contact information. He says he can't give that out but I can contact customer service if I wish and they may be able to give me an upgrade. I'm almost late for work by this time and thank him for nothing and leave the store with my non-working, but out of warranty and not eligible for an upgrade for 7 more months cell phone.

Tuesday rolls around and I call that wonderful world of make believe referred to more commonly as customer service. I get in touch with a wonderfully nice lady who pulls up my information and tells me I have an excellent payment history, spend almost $100 per month between my wife's phone and mine, am out of warranty, not eligible for an upgrade for 7 more months and she would recommend I purchase a new phone for full retail price. (I'm beginning to see a pattern here.) I nicely ask for her supervisor who is convienently not available at the moment but will contact me when they return to the office. Thank you and have a nice day.

After that phone call I locate a service center who repairs cell phones and they tell me it will cost around $100 to replace the lcd and recommend I just buy a new phone. Aaaarrrgghhhh!!!!! Finally out of desperation, I dig out my wife's beat-up but barely functional old phone and use my simcard to make it my own.

Currently I'm debating whether to wait until my contract expires in Feb (or June, Cingular time) and switch to a competetor, or take the early termination hit and bail out now.

#10 of 22 OFFLINE   Scott Merryfield

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Posted December 03 2005 - 05:43 AM

Wouldn't it just be cheaper to sign up with someone else and pay two months worth of your Cingular bill than pay the early termination fee? At the very least, just use your wife's old phone until February, since you were able to make that work. I wouldn't give Cingular any more money than necessary. I had similar conversations with Sprint PCS on two different occasions when my wife broke her phones. After threatening to leave Sprint once her contract was up (just a couple of months away each time), they agreed to replace her phone for free both times. It probably helped that I had already cancelled my phone, which was on the same account (I switched to Verizon). The business strategy of cell phone companies amazes me sometimes. They will give a free phone to a new customer, but will not do the same to retain a good, paying longtime current customer.

#11 of 22 OFFLINE   Tim Hoover

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Posted December 03 2005 - 07:16 AM

The reasons listed above are why I only take out one-year contracts, but even one of those bit me on the ass... In August of '03 I signed up w/ Verizon for one year. After wrestling with the phenomenon of being in a semi-dead spot in my own home yet the service being pretty good elsewhere, I decided to terminate my service in September '04. After this, Verizon continued sending me mail, which I presumed were promotional offers or other such things. Turns out, they were freakin' bills because VERIZON NEVER DEACTIVATED MY SERVICE!!! I learned this during a January conversation I had with about 4 different CS reps. Now they are trying to collect on 4 months of service (Sept when I cancelled through Jan when I threw a complete fit with the CS dept). I should add that I am presuming it's a collection for those 4 months, since I can't get a common answer from anyone I've spoken to. Sometimes they claim it's an early termination fee, to which I reply "I had a one-year contract, which I've faxed over proof. The early termination fee is also $150, and you're only trying to extort $128 and change." So far they've passed me onto their 2nd collections agent, after the first one was served a cease-and-desist from my attorney. Both collections agencies, when I tell them about my problem, tell me it's something Verizon must handle. When I call Verizon to get them to actually handle the problem, they tell me they can't do anything since it's now in the hands of the collections agencies. Since this debacle, I've decided to not get another cell - with any company...
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#12 of 22 OFFLINE   Jeff Peake

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Posted December 03 2005 - 08:04 AM

I paid the $150 to get out of bed with Cingular. After moving to Georgia, my phone would not get signal in my home. I work from home, and use my cellphone alot. I have always paid my bill on time, and had one of the higher cost plans for the 1.5 years I had ATT / Cingular. I called to report my signal problem, they werent helpful and actually suggested I upgrade my phone (which would lock me in to an additional 2-year contract). After some back and forth for a few days I just bit the bullet and paid the $150 to cancel. It was cheaper than paying 6 more months of non-functional service. I have switched to Verizon and all is good. I get signal everywhere I have used the phone. Contracts for cell-phone service suck, I am going to look into pre-paid service for my next cellphone.

#13 of 22 OFFLINE   Matt Stryker

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Posted December 03 2005 - 09:54 AM

Clinton - In the meantime (of the 7 months), you can always get a phone off Ebay and use that...that should run you well under $100. I had to do that with my wife after she left her T-Mobile phone on the roof of her car and flight-tested it at 60 MPH. As long as it has a SIM slot you may not need to do anything other than just switch the chip over.

#14 of 22 OFFLINE   Shane Martin

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Posted December 03 2005 - 09:56 AM

Flaky reception and downright awful Customer service are the 2 biggest gripes.

#15 of 22 OFFLINE   Clinton McClure

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Posted December 03 2005 - 11:35 AM

Thanks Matt, I'll look into it.

#16 of 22 OFFLINE   todbnla



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Posted December 03 2005 - 12:35 PM

FWIW: For about a month after Hurricane Katrina, Cingular would let anyone out of their contract for free since they had so many downed towers in the southeast U.S. Their service was horrid at the time. I had three phones with over a year left on all the contracts and I got out for zero. I was a Cingular customer since the motorola "brick phone" so I had been with them for a long time. Money wise, I think they have the best deal going but the quality of their service is poor lately. I went to Nextel(Celluar by Sprint now)and have never been happier. Good Luck.

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#17 of 22 OFFLINE   Peter Burtch

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Posted December 13 2005 - 09:23 AM

Clinton- Sorry to hear of your Cingular woes ;(. I would recommend you pick up an inexpensive gophone via the Cingular.com web site. There's a Nokia 3120 with reliable RF for $29.99, free shipping + tax. Pop your SIM card in and you're good to go. That's the nice part about GSM- you choose which phone you want to use. When your contract is up, if Cingular doesn't treat you nicely (for the best leverage on phone deals, ask for their retention department, btw), simply port your numbers to someone with reliable service in AK. -Pedro

#18 of 22 OFFLINE   Joseph DeMartino

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Posted December 13 2005 - 01:11 PM

The Cingular retail stores are basically franchises, not company-run operations, as I understand matters. They do suck. Their phone support is better. I had a phone go totally dead on me three days before the warranty ran out. While the low-level CS drone I first spoke to tried to convince me that the phone was already out of warranty (based on the shipping date) her supervisor acknowledged that I had three days left based on he activation date, which was the day I received the phone. I had a replacement in my hand the following afternoon. Other than that I've had no trouble with the phone or the service. It was my life line through all the hurricanes of the past two seasons. (It continued to work when the state-issued Verizon and Nextel phones my co-workers carried were off the air.) I've been far happier with Cingular than I ever was with AT&T or Bellsouth mobility (although Cingular has now merged with Bellsouth, so I get my mobile bundled with my local and long distance phone service and DSL, which saves me a few bucks on the package.)

As with most "this company sucks" claims, your mileage may vary and the service in different locations can be very different. I always take such blanket statements about companies (good and bad) with a large grain of salt. Also the cellular industry as a whole draws a lot of complaints, so it seems every company has some customers who think it sucks, and many customers who change providers expecting vastly better service simply end up exchanging one set of problems for another.

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#19 of 22 OFFLINE   Peter Burtch

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Posted December 14 2005 - 02:53 AM

Hi Joseph- I believe some are indeed corporate owned retail stores, while other stores with only the Cingular logo on the building are licensed Cingular agents (franchised). AFAIK there's also the dealers who sell Cingular along w/ other wireless service. Agreed though, you cannot generalize about cellular service. Even in the same town with a similar handset it can sometimes vary. I've am lucky to have had good experience w/ Cingular coverage where I travel/work/live/vacation- not just in urban areas either. Some parts of the country are indeed experiencing 'growing pains' with ATT/Cingular network integration, and also Cingular selling service in some areas without sufficient towers. My old Cingular GAIT phone allows me to keep the old but reliable TDMA/AMPS service when GSM is not avaible. It doesn't have a fancy camera, but it does the job nicely otherwise. -Pedro

#20 of 22 OFFLINE   Bry_DD


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Posted December 15 2005 - 05:23 AM

wanna get out of your contract? just tell them you're moving out of the country and they'll cancel your contract. i've heard someone did that and it worked.Posted Image

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