Central Coast

Dear Jon: Breaking your two-year wireless contract can be done

Be prepared to do battle with your provider

Peter messaged me on Facebook and asks, "Dear Jon, can I get out of my two-year contract with my wireless phone provider? They're coming out with new handsets all the time and I'm stuck." Yes you can, but no way is as easy as paying off your early termination fee. But if you don't want to do that, read on.

First of all, you never have to have a two-year contract with a wireless provider if you go the pre-paid phone route. And there are plenty of new no-contract plans with the major providers out there right now.

But if you're currently stuck in a two-year deal, what can you do?

There are companies out there where you can actually trade your cellphone service with another person who has what you want. Cellswapper and Celltrade are a couple of those websites that you can find online.

If you have a legitimate life event that you want to end your contract over, such as a death or divorce, call your provider. But I'm told don't expect the first person you talk to just roll over and do what you ask. You'll most likely have to go up the management chain to end a contract without paying the early termination fee over an extreme life event. And, you still may not be able to do it.

Here's another way - you can log all your dropped calls and complain to your provider that their service is bad and you want out.  The fact you have the documentation to prove it gives you a leg to stand on. That's labor-intensive but it's worked.

A more recent development is that T-Mobile is actually promoting that it will pay off your early termination fee from Verizon, AT&T or Sprint when you add its service. But be careful; the knock on T-Mobile is customer service and not as comprehensive a coverage area as Verizon and AT&T.

Email me here if you have a question for me, or you can message me on Twitter and Facebook as well.

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