Mobile phones are a big part of our lives and most of us get them on a contract. This means we don’t need to pay for an expensive handset all in one go and can spread the cost over monthly payments alongside line rental. But there can be situations where you need to get out of your mobile phone contract – so how can you do this?
1 The 14 day cooling off period :-
The best way to get out of a mobile phone contract without having to pay anything is to change your mind within the first 14 days. This is known as the cooling off period and under the Consumer Contract Regulations, you can cancel your contract in this time without being charged. It is a part of the Consumer Credit Act and is a mandatory part of all mobile phone contracts.
The important thing to note with the cooling off period is that it starts from the day you agree to go ahead with the contract, not the day you receive your phone (if they happen to be different) so make sure you are aware of this. If you want to use your 14 days cooling off period rights, you need to speak to the mobile phone provider. So if you took it through EE, for example, speak to the EE customer services team and they can handle the cancellation for you. Sometimes you may be required to put something in writing or by email– just be aware of the time passing to do these things.
2 Cancelling the contract:-
Once the first 14 days have passed you still have the right to cancel your contract at any time. But you need to understand cancellation charges. Say you have signed a contract for 12 months – if you cancel after 9 months, there will likely be a charge for this. You might have to pay the remaining three months contract or owe money for the cost of your phone. To end the contract, you will need to pay this or risk the phone company taking the matter further.
Most companies need 30 days’ notice to cancel a contract. So if you want to stop the contract on 1st August, you need to get in touch with them around 1st July to make sure it is actioned at the right time. Some companies might need the request in writing while others can do it by email or over the phone. Speak to customer services for the mobile provider to find their system and to see what the charges involved will be.
3 Upgrade your phone:-
Depending on the provider, you may be able to cancel an old contract a little early if you are upgrading to a new, more expensive phone and contract. Some companies even have a clause in the contract that you can upgrade after 12months and start a new contract which will cancel the old one. But watch out for any cancellation charges and terms in this kind of thing.
O2 are one company who offer this kind of benefit on some of their contracts. But watch that you don’t end up owing anything if you cancel before the contract tells you that you can – most of them say 12 months in. By this time you have paid enough towards your phone and they are happy to set up a new one. Some providers might offer you a deal to trade in your old phone against any balance when you cancel as well which is a good way to avoid having to pay a big charge.
These three options are the main ways to cancel your mobile contract if you want to go with someone else. It is worth remembering that providers aren’t obliged to cancel your contract if you can’t get network coverage so check this before you sign up.