CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - "It's horrible, I've given up," says Rich Alfaro. Alfaro is like a lot of people, he's frustrated with his cell phone service but he's never been able to get out of his contract without facing huge cancellation fees. "Dropped calls, missed calls, messages I get days late," laments Alfaro. Many of us want out of our cell phone contracts, and aside from being six feet under, it is not an easy task.
But the consumer group UNCAN, Utility Consumers Action Network, believes there are some options. They suggest that you try the basics, like complaining. But if you do that, chances are your success rate will be based on how much time is left on your deal. Ana Pasedes complained, "It worked for me, but I only had two months left on my contract, so they waved the fees." She's one of the lucky ones. Most people don't have such luck. But Ana had the truth on her side. "I kept track of how poor my service was, I made a big complaint about the service and how I didn't have a signal in some places."
Some people have joked they would be willing to move to an area where their carrier doesn't offer service, that will certainly get you out of your deal. But you could also try something that has been around for a while, swapping contracts. Cellswapper.com and Celltradeusa.com are just two of many sites that basically auction off your cell phone contract. Only problem with this is you run the very real risk of losing your phone number. For most people it is not worth that.
UCAN also recommends you keep very close watch on your bill. Many times carriers will increase fees ever so slightly, changes that go easily unnoticed. But UNCAN recommends you keep your contract close by and check monthly. They even off a script to use if you have a certain clause in your deal relating to the adverse impact new fees will have on you. If you click here you can read their page on what to do and link to their script for when you call your carrier.
Perhaps the most important thing to remember is that every time you go in to change any small part of your contract, your carrier will likely automatically extend your deal another two years. Remember that when you want to upgrade phones or add a line. If you get new service, ask for a trial or test period. This gives you a chance to try out the service and use your phone in the areas of town where you will need it most. Best to make the right decision the first go around, than spend hours working to get out a deal that doesn't work for you.