Owning the latest mobile handset has become the norm these days, and with so many of those handsets out of our affordability range, we have become reliant upon pay monthly mobile contracts. Most pay monthly contracts are for 24-months, but more and more we are seeing these rising to as long as 36-months. These contracts may seem attractive at the time, but what do you do when you are no longer happy with your providers service? Or the deal you originally signed up for is no longer so attractive?
Leaving your contract early will encounter an early termination fee, these can be pretty hefty depending on the length of contract you are still tied to.
Tip: It is worth noting. The type of contract you have signed up for will make a difference to those fees. If you have a sim only contract, you won’t have the cost of the handset to consider.
Cooling off period
When you first enter your new contract the first 14-days are what are referred to as your ‘cooling off’ period. Call it a tester, a period of time where you can decide whether or not you wish to continue with the contract. Should you decide that the service you were sold is not what you had hoped for, or you find a better deal within the 14-day period, you can simply contact your provider and cancel the contract. If your new contract included the handset, this would have to be returned.
Your rights are protected by Government legislation during this cooling off period.
Tip: Bear in mind that if you purchased your contract in person, the same rules may not apply, always purchase a new contract online, by mail order or over the phone to be protected by the 14-day money back guarantee.
Sell your handset to pay for the early termination fee
If the reason you wish to end your contract early is to buy into a new plan, it could be worth selling your current handset to pay off the early termination fee.
Tip: Always compare your providers fees with the price you will get by selling the handset. There’s no point selling the handset for £30 if the termination fee is going to cost you £200.
Only 30-days of your contract left
If you find yourself near the end of your contract, it may be worth holding out until the month before your contract ends, you can end your contract 30-days before the contract end date without being charged any termination fee.
Tip: It is also worth noting here, if you are near the end of your contract, contact your provider and inquire about downgrading your plan. This could save you money for a few months while you hold out to the end of the contract.
Price rises without notification
Thanks to Ofcom’s requirements, our mobile providers must give us at least 30-days notice of any price changes to our contracts, these notices can be in writing or by email. If they fail to do so, you are within your rights to cancel your contract without encountering any termination fees. But beware, some providers have changed their terms and conditions, and in the fine print you may find they have included that they can make price changes whenever they want without having to notify their customers.
Acceptable network guarantee
According to Ofcom it is of great importance that companies ensure ‘swift and hassle-free’ processes for their customers should you complain in regards to poor service.
If you find that your network continuously gives you bad service or bad coverage, you can speak with them regarding their ‘acceptable network guarantee’. Most networks have in place a standard in which they wish to provide for their customers, although there is no legal obligation to this, if your network provider agrees that the service you received is below what they consider acceptable, they may allow you to end your contract without any termination fees.
Tip: Always contact your provider directly, they are much more likely to assist you and keep you happy when faced with a customer directly.
Transfer your contract to a friend or family member
This may seem like a silly suggestion, ‘why would anyone else want my contract if I don’t? actually you will be surprised to learn that more people than ever are opting for this option. Whats not to like? You get out of your contract early, and upgrade to that new shiny handset you’ve had your eye on. While your mum gets to upgrade to your old handset, and with only a short length contract. Providers don’t care who is paying the bill, as long as the bill is being paid. You will have no issues switching the account holders.
Ask your new network provider to pay your termination fees
These days network providers are falling over each other to tie customers into lengthy contracts, they will do almost anything to have you switch over. The good news for us is that they will happily pay your termination fees for you to leave your current provider. So, it can’t hurt to call the customer services department of your new mobile network and ask them what they can do to cover the cost of any fees.
- BT Mobile: Call 150 from your BT handset (or 0800 800 150 from another phone)
- EE: Call 150 from your EE handset (or 07953 966 250 from another phone)
- iD Mobile: Call 7777 from your iD handset (or 0333 003 7777 from another phone)
- O2: Call 202 from your O2 handset (or 0344 809 0202 from another phone)
- Plusnet Mobile: Call 500 from your Plusnet handset (or 0800 079 1133 from another phone)
- Sky Mobile: Call 03300 412 524 from your Sky handset or any other phone
- Three: Call 333 from your Three handset (or 0333 300 3333 from another phone)
- Virgin Mobile: Call 789 from your Virgin handset (or 0345 6000 789 from another phone)
- Vodafone: Call 191 from your Vodafone handset (or 03333 040 191 from another phone)