Cell Phone Termination Fees: "Don't Give Them the Money"

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Palominas, AZLike many other cell phone customers, Charles G. thought his contract had expired and become month-to-month when he decided to cancel his service. He had his two year contract with Sprint for three and a half years and had not made any changes to either his phone or his plan. So, he naturally assumed that he could now cancel his contract at any time without paying cell phone early termination fees.

Charles had started his contract in January 2003. He finally decided to cancel in April 2006, because of the poor reception he got at home. "One of the reasons I switched was become of the intermittent and scattered service," Charles says. "It literally depended on which way the wind blew. Sometimes, I wouldn't get service, depending on how the towers were leaning in the wind."

Cell PhoneCharles was surprised to receive a $150 bill from Sprint charging him an early termination fee. Even worse, when he tried to contact Sprint to discuss the bill, he says he was told, "You're not a customer anymore. Just pay us the fee." Customer service representatives repeatedly refused to talk to him about the early termination fee and eventually the bill was sent to collectors.

"I won't pay any bill that I don't believe is justified," Charles says. "There is no justification for this bill because I was not under contract anymore. So collectors started calling me. They weren't bad people. In fact, they told me that they don't like Sprint. I told the collectors, 'I'm not going to pay because it's not justified.

"The collectors called me for a whole year. They said that Sprint often sends them to people like me who are normally quite honest. I've never paid them, so they put a ding on my credit rating. I can deal with that and clear it up.

"I kept my original phone and my hours exactly the same. I made no changes to my contract. The collectors said, and maybe it's somewhere in the fine print, that if I renewed my Sprint contract for one month, they automatically renew it for two years. But you can't talk to Sprint because you are no longer a Sprint customer.

"The get away with this with young people and couples who need good credit. I'm 60 years old. I have good credit and I can take a ding from an outfit like Sprint. Most people will pay it [the early termination fee] so Sprint gets away with charging it. I worked hard for my money and I'm not giving it to clowns who say I owe them money.

"This wouldn't be a problem if people would stop paying them [cell phone companies] just because they say people owe them money. If you pay these fees, you make it tougher for other people to stick to their principles and refuse to pay. [Cell phone companies] will stop ordering people to pay termination fees if we all refuse to pay them. Don't give them money just because someone is bullying you."

Cell phone companies now face lawsuits from customers who argue that they were unfairly charged early termination fees when they either cancelled their contract with good reason, such as lack of service, or they cancelled their service after the contract should have expired, only to learn that they had inadvertently extended their contract.

Cell Phone Companies Legal Help

If you were unfairly charged an early termination fee, actually paid the fee, and complained about the quality of service but got no satisfaction, please contact a lawyer involved in a possible [Cell Phone Companies Lawsuit] who will review your case at no cost or obligation.

Reader Comments

Posted by

Dear Sir/Madam,

I am an international graduate student at ASU Tempe and in August I signed up with t mobile. I was under the impression that I was not in a contract and that I would have to pay a termination fee if I would cancel the account within the first three months. I tansferred my number to straight talk and thus terminated my t mobile account. Before I do so, I went to the branch where I had opened the acount and verified that there would be no termination fees. Today, I got an automated call from t mobile and called back and t mobile (their central custoemr service, not the branch) told me that I was on a two year contract and that's why I got the free phone and I owed more than $200 termiantion fee and that I should clear that with the branch. However, I was never told that I was in a two year contract and I was told that the termination fee would be applied if I would terminate the account within three months (which long passed), not two years. I've always paid my monthly bills to t mobile and I will not pay this amount of money. I would like to ask what legal action will be brought against me from t mobile, considering I am an international graduate student. Will I have problems when exiting or re entering the US? imprisonement? Will money be taken from my bank account without my permission?

Kindly awaiting for your reply.

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