How to Cancel a Phone Contract

19 Oct 2018

If you’re unhappy with your phone provider or want to cancel your contract for whatever reason, we have good news: there’s a decent chance that you’re not as ‘locked in’ as you may believe.

Obviously, a lot of companies would rather you didn’t know that cancelling your phone contract is a possibility because it could lead to them losing customers. This means that a lot of people out there are paying more money than they need to or not getting the service they want, simply due to a lack of information.

Well, here at Hoppy, we’re all about giving people the information they need to find the right contract and provider for them and for some people, the first question that needs to be answered is how to go about it.

Is it possible to cancel a phone contract for free?

Yes – believe it or not, for many people, the dream to cancel a phone contract for free can be a reality. However, there are only two scenarios in which this is possible.

The first is if the cost of your plan has gone up. If prices increase, then you must be given 30 days’ notice and during that period, you are free to leave your contract. However, the important thing to note here is that if your network told you that prices would rise during your contract, then this possibility is null and void.

The reasoning here is that it is unfair to force people into paying an amount they have not agreed to in advance. If this were not the case, companies could in theory force people to pay extortionate amounts without any ability to leave their contract. However, if this does happen and you do want to leave, make sure you don’t put it off because once those 30 days are over, then you are once again locked into your contract.

The other possibility is if you are in the cooling-off period. Sadly, if you have been with your provider for a long time, this means you are out of luck. Once you’ve signed up for your contract – keep in mind, this doesn’t require any actual signing and is usually done online – it is subject to a 14-day cooling off period, according to consumer contract regulations. During this time, you can leave without incurring any charges. Again, this is essentially so you are able to avoid being stuck in a legal agreement you are not initially happy with.

One important stipulation is that if you have signed the contract in person, then this does not apply. The only exception here is if it was signed during a door-to-door sales calls. We presume this is also to prevent people from being scammed or being sold a bad deal. Even if you are someone who is not currently looking to get out of a contract, this information is worth keeping in mind, as it allows you to trial a product or service without a long-term commitment, as long as you keep that 14-day deadline firm in your mind.

Contract cancelling: fees

Unfortunately, here’s the sour part of cancelling a phone contract: often they come with fees, and they can be pretty heavy-handed too. Usually, the fee equates to the amount you would have to pay if you stayed for the remainder of your contract, meaning for most people, staying put until the contract ends just makes the most financial sense. This is a good reason why contract length should be an important factor when considering which deal you choose initially. The only alternative here is asking your network provider whether it is possible to downgrade to a cheaper plan, which may make more sense than cancelling depending on your situation.

Unfortunately, there is no legal right to cancel your contract if you are unhappy with their service. Some networks do have an ‘acceptable network guarantee’, but this is really only useful if the coverage is so bad as to render your phone unusable.

What to do if you want to switch

That’s pretty much all there is to it when it comes to cancelling a phone contract. It’s unfortunate that there aren’t more options for those who want to switch.

However, if you are in a situation where you can switch or are looking for a new contract, we hope we can find you one that you’ll be happy to stick with, thanks to our easy-to-use comparison tool. Being better-informed means that you’re more likely to find a deal that’s right for you, and we’re here to make that decision as easy as possible.

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