Cancel Cingular By “Moving” To Caliente

A reader reports he was able to get out of his Cingular contract by telling them he was moving to a remote area of NV.

After studying the coverage map, he called Cingular and asked if Caliente had service, knowing full well it didn’t. Cingular said roaming might be available and made a deal. After “moving” he should try it and if it didn’t work, call back. He did so, said, “hey, it doesn’t work” and Cingular canceled without applying an early termination fee.

The reader now has service with T-Mobile To-Go.

He justifies because while in order to get the company to do anything, you have to jump through tons of hoops, while “if they wish to charge me more, or change the terms of my service, they don’t even need to contact me.”


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  1. Way to go Jimmy!

    I have to agree with the assessment that it is unfair that cell phone companies can alter their contract at will with no recourse for the consumer, but the opposite is not true.

    I’m sure someone will pipe up and say that Jimmy shouldn’t have signed the contract if he didn’t agree to those terms, blah blah blah. However, the fact is (to my knowledge) there is not a single cell service out there that offers negotiable contracts, so what is our choice?

    I’ve tried crossing out parts of the contracts that I don’t like, only to be told that they are “non-negotiable terms.” Well, fuck you too then.

  2. “so what is our choice?”

    Your choice is go either get a prepaid phone or not have a cell phone.

    Can any lawyer please comment as to if what is being done is even legal? Sounds like fraud to me honestly.

    and before people start complaining as to me seeming to be on the companies side, let me inform you that you are incorrect. I’m all for LEGIALLY combating companies who do bad things. Making a contract that favors them is NOT them doing a bad thing. It’s them making a smart buisness decision (until someone comes along with a better deal of course).

  3. thatabbygirl says:

    I’m a lawyer. That is fraud. And, in my opinion, is the kind of action that strengthens the companies’ resolve to make crazy verification requirements or to increase the penalty fees for the rest of us.

    I agree that people always have choices – if you don’t like the cell phone contract, don’t get a cell phone. If you do sign a contract, suck it up and follow the contract provisions. Behaving otherwise seems to tacitly give the company permission to ignore the contract also.

    There are legal ways to combat this. File a lawsuit – even a class action – protesting the adhesion contract (the term for a non-negotiable contract that takes advantage of the consumer). There’s precedent – the insane interest rates that rent-a-center type companies used to charge were overturned by law. But I don’t see how ignoring legal restrictions can do anything but hurt the consumer in the long run. (Or at least hurt the consumers who don’t want to break the law.)

  4. I agree it’s fraud. Oh well. Perhaps you can start a pro-bono class action lawsuit for us Thatabbygirl? You yourself said that there are “legal” ways to combat these restrictive contracts …

    Besides, if Cingular went after Jimmy for fraud…couldn’t he just motion for dismissal per Unclean Hands? I doubt that Cingular’s recent contract changes would be completely justified in the eyes of the law…then again, as a lawyer tabby, you must know that justice goes to the highest bidder these days.

  5. bigroblee says:

    Just for the record, there is NO clause in the contract for Cingular, Verizon, or T-mobile to waive the ETF if you move to an area of no service. This is a popular misconception, not helped by posts like this one. You may, however, find a rep willing to waive the ETF for you in that situation however. Me, I’ll check their usage and see what area they have been using their phone in; simple. And, if it is not where they tell me, no waived ETF.

  6. Beckie says:

    Cingular turned the tables on me. They cancelled my contract because I was hitting over 50% off of someones else’s tower. Now I have three cell phones that will not accept another companies sim card. I will have to get a new service and buy new phones, and who knows if this company will do the same thing? If anyone else has had this happen to them, please let me know.

  7. alexkroska says:

    we had a contract with ATT which was bought out by Cingular and we completed our two year contract with ATT a year after being purchased by Cingular however Cingular required us to purchase new phones when they took over and said they were switching from analog to digital service which we purchased new phones however the representatives at Cingular said here are your new phones without telling us they extended our contract another two years without us signing a contract and now telling us it was a verbal contract and did not verbally tell us they were extending our contract- are we liable for this sham? we decided to switch companies because I am employed with a corp that receives a discount and Cingular does not honor and we called the local office and were told our contract was completed and now we receive early termination bill for two lines at $300- do we have to honor a verbal contract on their part that we knew nothing about the extention of our contract?? Anyone dealing with Cingular watch out for verbal contracts!!!