Cancel T-Mobile With No ETF Thanks To Txt Msg Increase

T-mobile has confirmed that starting in June, there will be a increase in text messaging rates for users who do not subscribe to a text messaging plan. As Consumerist readers well know, this means that if you don’t have a text messaging plan the rate hike constitutes a materially adverse change and you have the legal right to terminate your contract with no ETF per T-Mobile’s Terms and Conditions.

More inside.

T-Mobile has not officially announced the change, but a Consumerist insider called and confirmed the changes with a T-Mobile CSR. Here is his report:

• Confirmed text message rate changes in June. Texts are going up 5 cents (to $.15) and MMS is coming down $.10 (also to $.15).

• [The CSR] seemed to imply that because of the decrease in MMS cost, they were NOT considering this a violation of Terms of Service (but he also seemed baffled that I’d heard about the rate change to begin with).

• This only effects regular rate plan users. If you have purchased bundles of text messages (ex: 400 text messages for $4.99/month), the rate will not increase. Also, he said that if you currently have such a bundle and they decide to raise the total cost of the bundle ( e.g., 400 text messages for $5.99/month), you’ll be grandfathered in and your bundle price will not go up.

• This information is NOT on the site yet, but will probably go up in the http://www.t-mobile.com/Company/PressReleases.aspx?tp=Abt_Tab_PressReleases“>”news” section.

• Letters are going out about this now to all subscribers, either with your bill, or if you don’t get a bill, by regular mail.

Since T-Mobile is lowering the price on their MMS messaging, this situation is a little different from previous txt messaging increases.
However, we don’t see why you shouldn’t be able to terminate your contract. Let’s look at T-Mobile Terms & Conditions:

Changes to the Agreement or Charges. EXCEPT TO THE EXTENT PROHIBITED BY LAW, IF WE: (A) INCREASE THE CHARGES INCLUDED IN YOUR MONTHLY RECURRING ACCESS RATE PLAN, OR (B) MODIFY A MATERIAL TERM OF OUR AGREEMENT WITH YOU AND THE MODIFICATION WOULD BE MATERIALLY ADVERSE TO YOU, WE WILL NOTIFY YOU OF THE INCREASE OR MODIFICATION AND YOU CAN CANCEL THAT SERVICE WITHOUT PAYING A CANCELLATION FEE (WHICH IS YOUR ONLY REMEDY) BY FOLLOWING THE CANCELLATION INSTRUCTIONS IN THE NOTICE. IF YOU DO NOT CANCEL YOUR SERVICE BY FOLLOWING THOSE INSTRUCTIONS, OR YOU OTHERWISE ACCEPT THE CHANGE, THEN YOU AGREE TO THE INCREASE OR MODIFICATION, EVEN IF YOU PAID FOR SERVICE IN ADVANCE. IF THE NOTICE DOES NOT SAY HOW LONG YOU HAVE TO CANCEL, THEN IT IS WITHIN 14 DAYS AFTER THE DATE OF THE NOTICE, UNLESS A LONGER PERIOD IS REQUIRED BY LAW. EXCEPT TO THE EXTENT PROHIBITED BY LAW, CHARGES FOR PRODUCTS, SERVICES, OPTIONAL SERVICES, OR ANY OTHER CHARGES THAT ARE NOT INCLUDED IN YOUR MONTHLY RECURRING ACCESS RATE PLAN (SUCH AS DIRECTORY ASSISTANCE, ROAMING, DOWNLOADS, AND THIRD-PARTY CONTENT) ARE SUBJECT TO CHANGE AT ANY TIME WITHOUT NOTICE, AND IF YOU CONTINUE TO USE THOSE SERVICES, OR YOU OTHERWISE AGREE TO THE CHANGES, THEN YOU AGREE TO THE NEW CHARGES. VISIT OUR WEB SITE, RETAIL LOCATIONS, OR CALL CUSTOMER CARE FOR CURRENT CHARGES.

If you’re really ready to cancel your T-Mobile service, put on your mean face and give them a call at 1-800-937-8997. Be ready for a fight! They’re not going to let you go easily. They’re going to give you a bunch of excuses. When canceling read the Terms and Conditions section pasted above to the CSR.

Let us know how it goes at tips [at] consumerist [dot] com. For information about other people who canceled their service based on txt message increases, check out:

Break Your Verizon Contract Without Fee, Thanks to TXT Msg Raise

Everything You Wanted To Know About Canceling Verizon But Were Afraid To Ask
Script For Escaping Verizon Contracts Without Fee, Based On Text Message Rate Raises

After Battle, Marie Escapes Verizon Contract


Consumerist In NYT For Cellphone Plan Escape Tricks

We’ll update you with more info as we get it. —MEGHANN MARCO

(Photo: gordasm)

Comments

Edit Your Comment

  1. Helvetian says:

    Just cite the SMS hike as the reason, the MMS decrease is positive so I doubt you could use that as a reason. Who would ever complain about prices dropping anyway?

  2. cindel says:

    I have t mobile; I think I will give this a try eh.

  3. Helvetian says:

    Just remember they now all charge the same ridiculous $0.15 rate per SMS. So consider this among other factors before leaving one of the better providers of mobile service. Where are you gonna take your number?! Not much left to chose from.

  4. davere says:

    I’m actually very happy with T-Mobile but this is good for those who want out.

    As for the MMS decrease, what if you don’t have a camera phone so you don’t send MMS, the fact that this part went down, is irrelevant to you as a plain text message user.

  5. Soulgenesis says:

    i sent this in as a tip yesterday :)

  6. dandyrandy says:

    Is contract termination neccesarily the same as service termination? I’d like to end the contract, but I’m not neccesarily interested in ending service right now.

  7. Jae says:

    @davere:
    true, i guess i just don’t understand why not get the unlimited plan. however t-mobile’s unlimited plans are acceptably priced and aren’t tied to their network users. (i.e. text ANYONE not jut t-mo users.)

    of course, full disclosure, i’m a satisfied t-mobile customer.

  8. cindel says:

    No go.

    The person that I spoke to says that it does not apply “individual text messages” which is an optional services.

  9. mac-phisto says:

    @cindel: try again. they say it’s “optional”, but every user is automatically signed up for text messages pay per use if they didn’t bundle a plan. if no go on first level, remember to escalate. also remember that even if you don’t send txt messages, you will be charged for those sent to you by others. this is probably your best bet for a material breach argument as you have no control over receiving (unless of course you block texting…if they suggest this, simply inform them that you have no problem sending/receiving at 10 cents…it’s that extra 5 cents that’s really killing you).

  10. Helvetian says:

    @dandyrandy: You mean cancel the contract but retain the services contract free? Not allowed

  11. sr105 says:

    There is a difference. I have a camera phone and because I never wanted to pay for data charges, all data access on my phones is turned off. No GPRS access at all. I can still send SMS messages since they use a different path, but no MMS for me.

  12. Zain says:

    Would it be reasonable to cancel service before this change even takes effect?

  13. mr.b says:

    This is now 100% Official:
    http://www.t-mobile.com/shop/addons/services/MessagingDisc

    Despite what was said in the post, this increase can be used by anyone who does not have the “unlimited” text plan as a materially adverse change in terms, and thus a valid reason to cancel without paying the ETF.

    How? From the page linked to above, “If you subscribe to a monthly messaging bundle, then each of these rate changes will apply to MMS and SMS messages in excess of your monthly allotment.”

  14. quagmire0 says:

    I’d do it if I could find a cheaper family plan that was cheaper doesn’t have a gazillion minutes that I don’t need. :) Actually, T-Mobile has been kind enough to allow me to renew my now defunct (you can’t pick it anymore) contract and they let me get some free phones to boot. I’m sure some people are in nightmare contracts though – so this is a plus for those of you that are.

  15. oldbluebox says:

    I like T-Mobile. I’ve been with them for years.

    What are you left with after them?

    The Evil Cingular, AT&T or whatever they decide to be?

    Verizon….come on now.

    Sprint? Yeah sure, say hello to terrible customer care.

    Loveeee T-Mobile.

  16. North Antara says:

    David – Supervisor in Customer Service
    RepID 0956141

    David claims that txt msging is an “optional” service, and kept quoting the following from “Changes to the Agreement or Charges” – “EXCEPT TO THE EXTENT PROHIBITED BY LAW, CHARGES FOR PRODUCTS, SERVICES, OPTIONAL SERVICES, OR ANY OTHER CHARGES THAT ARE NOT INCLUDED IN YOUR MONTHLY RECURRING ACCESS RATE PLAN (SUCH AS DIRECTORY ASSISTANCE, ROAMING, DOWNLOADS, AND THIRD-PARTY CONTENT) ARE SUBJECT TO CHANGE AT ANY TIME WITHOUT NOTICE, AND IF YOU CONTINUE TO USE THOSE SERVICES, OR YOU OTHERWISE AGREE TO THE CHANGES, THEN YOU AGREE TO THE NEW CHARGES.”

    When asked how it can be considered “optional” if it costs money for an incoming txt msg, he deferred that question to the legal department (see below for the information he gave me) and immediately clammed up.

    T-Mobile Wireless Legal Department
    12920 Southeast 38th St.
    Bellevue, WA 98006

  17. capitalass says:

    I’ve had good luck with tmobile. Since I don’t use them for much data (as of now their data is really subpar), their voice reception have been adequate.

    I’ve found their voice reception to be better than all except Verizon (which appears to be superior to all others in both voice and data–too bad Verizon is also known for terrible customer service, crippling features and outrageous prices).

    I’ve also found that tmobile offers excellent customer service. It’s so easy to get a phone unlocked through them, and I have never gotten the impression that a rep was trying to get me off the phone.

    Still, I remember when sms messages were 5 cents, and there were no two year contracts.

    It’s always nice to see companies setting themselves with material changes in their contracts. Now if I could just figure out a way to charge them $175 for that.

  18. Nextlevel says:

    Hmm, i wonder if I can get a new contract now, get a new phone, anc cancel the contract when they change the fees?

    Opinions?

    Don’t hate..

  19. Hallik09 says:

    Would it be possible to get rid of your text package, and then cancel based on the increase? I have a text plan for SMS but not MMS, could I still cancel over that, or is MMS already included in the package, though the rep told me it’s only text when I first got it.

  20. Helvetian says:

    T-Mobile is #1, I just want to warn anyone thinking of leaving over the nickel that now all of them charge $.15. Always try the competition, but T-Mobile is very good. I’ve had them all, and prefer them. I am not usually very loyal to any brand (unless they reward me with incentives lol) but I am with T-Mobile.

  21. billyliberty says:

    This is definitely a go.

    I actually cancelled twice and received no resistance whatsoever. Late last night I had called and requested cancellation due to the text message price increase. I read the part of the notice on their site that directs the consumer to parts 3 and 4 of the Terms and Conditions, then read the parts applicable to waiver of the termination fees. The notice on their site even mentions that the Terms and Conditions describe your rights for early cancellation!

    I asked to have my service be cancelled in two weeks to give me time to port my number to a Sprint SERO plan, but apparently both lines were cancelled today. I called and had them reinstated and have them cancel again in two weeks.

    I again asked about the termination fees and and whether they were in place to automatically waive again, and the representative responded:

    “Oh, you’re canceling due to the text messages?”

    I had not even mentioned the text message issue yet.

    He put in for the fee to be waived without any resistance. This should be an easy out, definitely.

  22. whatevernevermind says:

    Worked for me without much resistance.

  23. scotsman says:

    Can some one tell me when they did this? I’m getting alot of resistance fromT-Mobile on this – they state that you have 30 days from when the notice was originally sent. Which was January of 07.

    Anyone – please?

  24. joaquinconsumerist says:

    I would like more info. I’m getting alot of resistance from T-Mobile on this – they state that you have 30 days from when the notice was originally sent. Which was May of 07 in my case.