I’m currently a satisfied customer of T-Mobile, and hopefully, I’ll remain one. But since the time may come when I want to switch providers, it pays to have an exit strategy.
If you have already reached that point, here are some ways to get out of your T-Mobile contract without paying the early termination fee.
6 Ways to Get Out of a T-Mobile Contract
1. Prove You Don’t Have Service at Home or at Your Office
This is by far the most popular way to get out of a cell phone contract. The problem is that T-Mobile has detailed maps of their service levels across the country. Nevertheless, it is always possible that the service you receive does not reflect what they claim. You can expect them to ask for documentation that the problem location is a residence or a legitimate place of business, and not just a rented mailbox.
2. Cite Their Change in Your Contract
Buried into the contract of every mobile phone provider is a clause that says they can change the contract at any time. T-Mobile’s Terms & Conditions contains such a clause in paragraph five. If they make a change that is “materially adverse” to you, you have the right to terminate your contract without a fee. Essentially, any change that potentially increases your costs can be considered materially adverse.
For example, if they raise their rate for text messaging, you can invoke this clause even if you don’t text message. When they change the terms of their contract, they have to give you 30 days notice. You then have 14 days to invoke the clause. While you could wait until they notify you of a future change, it is also possible that you missed the last notification or were never properly notified. If you don’t recall being notified, ask them to prove that they did. If they can’t prove it, you can argue that you should be let out of your contract under this clause.
Paragraph 17 of the contract says they may terminate your service if, over a three-month period, at least 50% of your usage is roaming. If you can find a part of town where your phone uses roaming mode, go there and make lots of calls. You probably won’t even have to wait three months since roaming costs them so much money. They may decide sooner that it’s just not worth keeping you as a customer.
4. Trade Plans
If you can find someone you know who is willing to take over your plan, you can actually change the financial responsibility of the contract. If you can’t find someone on your own, there are services like CellPlanDepot.com that match up people looking to trade plans.
5. Have Them Show You the Contract
T-Mobile can’t hold you to a contract if they don’t have a copy of it. They probably do, but it can’t hurt to ask. If they do come up with it, you can proceed with the next step.
6. Take Them to Court
You may be unsuccessful in convincing T-Mobile representatives that you don’t have good service or that they adversely changed your contract without adequate notification. If this happens, you can simply file a case against them in small claims court. Unless T-Mobile hires a lawyer to travel to your jurisdiction, you will win by default. Or they may want to settle the case outside of court by refunding you the termination fee.
The problem here is that you can only win monetary damages already incurred. If you haven’t yet paid the termination fee, you can’t win a judgment based on expected future losses.
When you began your mobile phone service, you entered into a contract with T-Mobile that they composed. It is well-known that they will go to great lengths to enforce your compliance with their terms. At the same time, you should feel free to undertake whatever effort is necessary to get out of their contract if they are not delivering the services you paid for.
Were you able to successfully get out of your T-Mobile contract without paying the early termination fee? What strategy worked for you?