Break Your Cingular Contract Without Fee, Thanks 2 Txt Msg $ Raise

Gimlet-eyed Cingular customers may have noticed the cellphne provider changing its text message rates from $.10 to $.15 and realized they can use that to escape contract without early termination fee.

Verizon and Sprint raised their text message rates earlier this year and customers were able to escape. Cingular seems to have learned from the other company’s “mistakes” and has drilled its reps to tow a tougher line.

To beat them, you will need your warrior gaze, and this piece of contract, inside…

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From Cingular’s Terms of Service:

“IF WE INCREASE THE PRICE OF ANY OF THE SERVICES TO WHICH YOU SUBSCRIBE… YOU MAY TERMINATE THIS AGREEMENT WITHOUT PAYING AN EARLY TERMINATION FEE… PROVIDED YOUR NOTICE OF TERMINATION IS DELIVERED TO US WITHIN THIRTY (30) DAYS AFTER THE FIRST BILL REFLECTING THE CHANGE.”

The text message rate change is effective Jan 21, 2007. You have 30 days from then to break the contract. The change affects all postpaid and Pick-Your-Plan customers not currently subscribed to an SMS package.

HowardForums and FatWallet have extensive threads devoted to the subject.

Several of their members report success in escaping the contract without early termination fee. Read their posts and learn more strategies.

Incidentally, Cingular touts on its website that it was the first wireless provider to earn the Cellular Telecommunications & Internet Association (CTIA) “Seal of Wireless Quality”. Part 7 of the CTIA Consumer Code for Wireless Service states:

“7. Provide customers the right to terminate service for changes to contract terms. Carriers will not modify the material terms of their subscribers’ contracts in a manner that is materially adverse to subscribers without providing a reasonable advance notice of a proposed modification and allowing subscribers a time period of not less than 14 days to cancel their contracts with no early termination fee (ETF).”

Be strong. Insist on the cancellation. State your demands and reasoning clearly and upfront. Ask for a supervisor. Escalate. Don’t get off the phone. If they say, let me call you back, say, no thanks, I’ll hold. When they argue with you, simply restate your demand and reason. Repeat as many times as necessary.

— BEN POPKEN