How Do I Get Out of My Wireless Contract?

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Do you want to get out of your current wireless contract? There are ways of breaking your contract without paying the proverbial arm and a leg (aka "early termination fees"). Here's how:

1. Try swapping. Trading or transferring your account to someone else is a burgeoning tactic, and it's often the easiest way to get out of your contract. Websites such as Cellswapper, CellplanDepot, and CelltradeUSA all offer a way for you break your contract by letting someone else take it over. Fees range from $15 to $25, and you can choose to include your phone as a free incentive to attract buyers.

2. Look for loopholes. Watch your mail for notifications regarding changes in your contract. Changes that add fees or affect your service can be deal-breakers, since carriers can't change these terms of your contract without your permission. Complain promptly, as your contract clause often gives you a short period of time (usually before your next billing period) to document your complaint.

3. Try negotiating. With some carriers, the longer you've had your current contract, the less you'll be charged for breaking it. The fee is charged against the number of months you've already paid, so a person who's had a contract for a year will pay less than someone who's only had one for six months. Check to see if your carrier charges this way, and if it doesn't, find out if it's willing to negotiate.

4. Join the military. Desperate times call for desperate measures. If you're really desperate to get out of your contract, join the military and get yourself an overseas assignment. This may not get you out entirely, but it could reduce your obligation.

Though there are other amusing, dubious, and possibly illegal tactics you could try to break your contract, they're not recommended. Rumors about setting your phone to roaming mode, making bogus complaints to the Federal Trade Commission, and faking your own death abound on the Internet, but they are probably not worth the hassle and could wind up costing you more than the early termination fees.

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