How to Get Out of a Cell Phone Contract

If you are currently under contract with a cell phone company, that contract can feel like a prison sentence. Getting out of that contract is not complicated, but it could cost you some extra money if you are not careful. The guide below explains how to get out of a cell phone contract if you want to switch carriers or eliminate lines from your account.

Basic Steps for Cancelling a Phone Contract

No matter what your reasons may be, you will go through the same basic steps for any phone line or contract you try to cancel. First, you will need to contact the phone company and tell them you want to get out of your contract. They will ask the reasons, which you need to explain, and then they will likely direct you to another department to complete the process.

When you get redirected, someone will probably try to talk you into keeping your account. For instance, they may offer you a lower rate on a certain part of your contract, or include an additional perk. It is up to you if you want to take advantage of these opportunities. They may make up for whatever it is that is causing you to cancel.

If you still want to cancel your contract after hearing those offers, go through the process discussed by the customer service representative. Most phone companies will have you listen to a pre-recorded message about the terms of your cancellation. Then, the operator will confirm that you accept the terms. Your phone contract will either be cancelled immediately or at the end of the billing term.

Emergency Cancellations

There are some cases where you can get out of your cell phone contract without any extra fees or hassles. This only happens in emergency situations, such as the death of a family member who was on the plan. Phone companies are understanding about circumstances like that.

The phone company may also let you out of your contract if you lose your job. However, they may try to put you into a program that relieves you of your bills for a few months while you get back on your feet. You may want to consider that offer.

Pay As You Go Cancellations

If you are on a pay-as-you-go plan, you don’t have to worry about a cancellation fee. You aren’t tied down by a contract, so you aren’t going to be bound by the terms of one. You might have to return your phone or pay a fee for keeping it, buy you will not have to pay the fees listed below.

Cancellation Fees

Unless you have a contract without cancellation fees, you will have to pay something to get out of your cell phone contract. There are some occasions when a contract offers free cancellation, but that is not common. You will be asked to pay a portion of the remaining contract or a fee for keeping your cell phone.

Instead of paying a portion of the remaining contract, you might be asked to pay a flat fee for cancelling. At one point in time, Verizon charged $175 for cancelling a phone line or contract. However, that changes on a fairly regular basis. Talk to your cell phone provider to find out what your cancellation fees are going to be. Then decide if it is worth it or keep the plan until the end of the contract term.

About John Oldshue

John Oldshue is the creator of He worked for over 15 years in television and won an Emmy award for his reporting. He covers long distance and cell phone topics for SaveOnPhone.