How to Cancel a Cell Phone Plan without Penalty

By Amy Kniss

Canceling your cell phone plan may appear intimidating. Cell phone service providers scare customers into thinking they have no option but to pay a hefty fee to get out of an unwanted cell phone contract. This is not the case. As a cell phone customer, you have rights and you can usually get out of your contract without paying additional penalty fees. You just need to know what you're doing when you approach the cell phone service provider to cancel your plan.

Things You'll Need

  • Cell phone service providerNew cell phone service providerCopy of your current bill

Step 1

Review your current plan and cell phone contract. Determine why you want to change providers or cancel your current cell phone contract. List the reasons so you'll have them when you speak with an agent.

Step 2

Plan ahead. If you want to keep the cell phone number you currently use (which your friends and family already know), make arrangements to have your cell number "ported" in by another cell phone service provider. This will ensure that when you cancel your current cell phone contract, the service provider will not extinguish your number with the contract.

Step 3

Wait for your number to be activated (ported in) by the new cell phone provider before you tell your original service provider that you want to end your cell phone contract. Once your number is active with the new provider, call your former cell phone provider.

Step 4

Ask to speak with a representative. Tell the agent you are ending your service contract and that your number has been ported in by another service provider. Explain that you would like to pay the amount due on your account and that you want to confirm that no additional charges will be incurred for ending your contract.

Step 5

Explain how long you have been a customer of the cell phone service provider. If it has been at least 2 years, you will have an easier time canceling your contract without incurring additional fees. Providers are more likely to allow you to end your contract, even if you have upgraded your phone during the term of your contract.

Step 6

Review the "Materially Adverse" section of your contract. Although the terms of this section varies by carrier, it provides customers with the right to cancel their cell phone service without termination fees if any changes to the provider's "Terms of Service" cause a materially adverse effect to the consumer. Insist that you have suffered a materially adverse effect, based on a change to the "Terms of Service" and ask to speak to a supervisor if your interaction with the customer service representative doesn't get you out of your contract.

Tips & Warnings

  • Remain calm and ask to speak with a manager if the agent attempts to charge you a cancellation fee.You may also want to send a written letter closing your account and confirm that no additional fees are to be charged for canceling it.Be familiar with the Federal Communications Commission's Local Number Portability (LNP) rules. This entitles subscribers, under Section 251 of the Telecommunications Act of 1996, to change service providers while retaining the same phone number, provided it's in the same geographic area.