How To Get Out Of A Cell Phone Contract Without Paying | 7 Steps

It’s never been easy jumping ship on your phone contract, but you can cancel the contract if you know how to get out of a cell phone contract for free.

If you do, you’re a step closer to not paying that termination fee, if you don’t, I’m here to educate.

Getting a phone isn’t really a problem, paying the contract fees when you want out of the contract early; that’s the problem!!

In an article by Laura Shelby for the NBC news, early cancellation fees range from $50 if you have one to three months left on your contract to $200 if you’re still under contract for six months or more.

If you cancel your contract during the last month, you’ll pay either $50 or your monthly recurring charges, whichever is less.

However, note that these prices were estimated and can be more or less according to the plan you’re currently using or your carrier.

In this article, we would help you identify the tricks around not paying an early termination fee or ETF as we call it. Obviously, there are a few ways around, but it’s always important you under the one most suitable to your situation.

Meanwhile, take a look at the table of content for an overview of this piece.

How To Get Out Of A Cell Phone Contract

Getting out of this contract is usually not easy, after all, you signed the papers. And for carriers, charging you an ETF is a way they recover some of their money.

We all know carriers buy these phones from the manufacturing companies like Apple Samsun and the rest of them. So when you want to cut off the deal early, it kinda hurts, hence, the fee-ETF fee.

This said, here are a few ways you can get out of the cell phone contract without paying.

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Step 1. Be Wary Of The Grace Period

This should be top of the list on the “how to cancel your phone contract for free list”

If you buy a new phone from a carrier, you usually have a 14 days grace period or sometimes more, depending on your carrier and phone.

If within this period you have buyer’s remorse you’re allowed to return the phone back to the carrier. So if you’re having second thoughts on that phone, act fast!!

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Step 2. Report It

These companies do their best to retain you, even they know you’d rather be elsewhere. So before you can bail it has to be for a tangible reason like; if their signal becomes really bad.

So when you continue to report the degradation of their service over your contract time with them, you might be eligible for a signal booster or bill credit.

And when it’s really bad they might have to relieve you of your obligations. Nevertheless, you might have to reach them in writing for this to happen.

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Step 3. Freeze Your Account

Sometimes you might not really be looking to cancel your contract, maybe you just want to travel out of your service zone for a while. Say maybe you’re going on a vacation in another country.

It’s for times like this that each of the Big Four carriers participates in seasonal suspension, usually without billing (your ETF won’t budge) or with billing (you’ll pay every month not to use your phone, but you’ll work off your ETF cap).

Sprint Charges $8.99 per month sometimes up to six months, while AT & T charges $10 per month to suspend the account.

It’s more ideal for long vacations (Verizon’s offer tops out at 180 days), and it usually extends to people who have paid their bills in full.

Step 4. Swap Your Service Or Sell It To Another Person

Swapping your service with another person needs some paperwork and calls with customer service to happen.

Nevertheless, it’s surely one of the easiest ways to end your contract. If you can get someone to take and pay out the contract, you’d be free from the service and contract.

Carriers do not charge to swap deals, so you have nothing to worry about. But you might need to worry about finding a replacement.

Craigslist and eBay can always come to the rescue.

Step 5. Get Another Carrier Company To Pay It

We have established it here that why most people don’t want to cancel phone contract with companies, they are unhappy with is because they can’t do it for free.

Consequently, they put up with poor services instead of canceling the contract.

You don’t have to do this, not when another carrier might pay for that ETF.

For this to happen, you need to find out exactly what you owe to your carrier and how long you have left on the contract.

When you do this, contact their competitors to find out if they will be willing to absorb the fee if you port to their company. Depending on what you owe, they might and you are free from the early termination fee.

Step 6. Take The Social Media Approach

Big brands would never allow their names dragged into the mud, especially in social media. Because of this, they are very responsive to your request and comments especially on Facebook and Twitter.

For carriers, social media offers a chance to interact with — and with luck, soothe — disgruntled subscribers on a more personal level.

Step 7. Lawyer Up!!

This should come as a last resort and should only be used in precarious situations. It will probably not interest you to find out that carriers are “immune” to class action suits.

Yes, the supreme gave them a shield from class-action suits in exchange for offering arbitration.

So when you get the paper signed, you have most definitely waved your right to levy on a class action suit. However, if you’re convinced that there’s foul play, get a lawyer.

Bonus Points

Step 8. Speak To A Supervisor

Customer service representatives can be obnoxious while carrying out their duties. It is your responsibility to identify such service agents and ask for their supervisors instead.

Speaking to a manager or supervisor will always yield better results. It can help you identify holes to poke in your contract and probably wriggle out of it without paying a cent.

Step 9. Expire

You’re probably wondering what I mean by this, well you’re not going to like it. But I still have to tell you that if you die, no one Is going to hound you for the fee. But we agree we’re not dying yet right?

Well, since you can’t fake your death either, this option isn’t for you. At least not yet.

What Phone Contract Is Best For You?

The phone contract best for you highly depends on how you use your phone. If you’re someone who is always using your phone either for work or personal purposes, then getting a monthly phone deal might be just right for you.

However, note that there are other phone deals available to you, like Sim-only deals and Sim-free deals.

If you want to sign up for the monthly deal, you will most likely get a contract for 12 or 24 months.

This is recommended if you want to spread the phone bill for over time. Maybe because the cost will be too much to be paid at a go, not unless you the best places to buy used phones at a cheap price.

However, you might be better off with a SIM-only deal if you have a phone you want to keep but want a better price. Sim-only deals are mostly a one-month rolling contract or a twelve-month contract.

You should consider a SIM-free deal if:

  • You don’t use your mobile phone very often.
  • Or you don’t want to be tied to a contract.
  • Or can’t get a contract due to a poor credit rating.

Where as, Sim-free deals are phone deals you pay for what you use. If you run out of call credit, you must top up, or you wont be able to make calls nor text.


Phone contracts can be tricky and how long most of these contracts lasts doesn’t help matters at all.

It has never been easy to cancel your phone contracts for free. And it’s even harder to try to use a phone for too long when your dream phone is out there.

But we hope that with this article on how to get out of a cell phone contract, that you too can cancel your phone contract for free.


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