When you buy a mobile phone contract, it’s likely to last for two years since this seems to be the industry average currently. As the market continues to welcome new smartphones, it seems as though most barely last a year before they’re outdated by something bigger and better.
With this in mind, there’s a huge gap where we get anxious and a little jealous of all those getting their hands on new models when we’re mid-way through our own contract.
As you may know, leaving a contract early will result in an early exit fee because you’ve signed a two-year deal. Typically, this fee will be the remainder of your monthly payments until the minimum term date. If you want to leave your contact and then buy a new handset, this is an expensive process and one most of us can’t afford.
Luckily, you don’t always have to end your current contract and then start a new one and we have some of the best alternatives here today!
Phone Break – Firstly, this won’t help everybody but most customers will have some form of warranty with a monthly contract. If you’ve been dealing with a malfunctioning device, read through the details of the warranty and see if you can get some help.
Over the years, Apple has been known for their brilliant customer service so this is handy if you have a problem with the handset itself; also, Carphone Warehouse often have Samsung technicians if you have one of these models instead.
Additionally, water-damaged phones don’t necessarily mean the end so don’t think you need to cancel your contract. In fact, many manage to fix this issue by themselves.
Upgrade – If you’re looking to upgrade, the majority of new handsets can be found SIM-free and unlocked so you don’t always need to cancel the contract.
Although they cost a little more, SIM-free devices don’t require an early exit fee, you don’t have to sign any contracts, and the old device can be recycled to recuperate some of the money you spent on the new model.
These days, we tend to overlook SIM-free devices but they work out much cheaper than contracts and you can switch suppliers in an instant.
Leaving the UK – If you’re moving away for some time, you might think that cancelling the contract is the only solution and this leads to a hefty charge just before you leave. However, there are two reasons why you should leave your contract open; firstly, you might return to the UK even if it isn’t in your plans right now. Secondly, international roaming is becoming cheaper than ever so your phone isn’t entirely useless abroad anymore.
Poor Coverage – If coverage is causing trouble, get in touch with your network provider. Initially, they’ll assess the infrastructure in your area to see if any upgrades or maintenance work would help the issue. If there’s a problem they need to fix, you might just receive a discount on your bill until it’s repaired and this is because you aren’t getting the service you were promised at the start.
If poor coverage is still a problem, WiFi Calling could be a solution since this doesn’t require constant access to mobile data.
Lack of Money – Finally, your financial situation may have changed thus making it difficult to pay the bills. If so, you should contact your provider and assess your options. By cancelling, you’ll owe a large amount which could lead to debt collectors, days in court, and a weakened credit rating. Instead, it’s much better to arrange something with the provider whether it’s a payment plan or perhaps a downgrade on your contract.
Cancelling with Providers
These days, the cancellation process for each provider tends to be a little different so we’ve broken all the details down below!
With EE, you’ll need to pay 96% of the monthly payments until the end of your contract.
For those on higher data plans, there’s actually an annual upgrade scheme so you could get an upgrade without worrying about a penalty.
Thanks to O2 Refresh, you can pay for the handset and allowance on separate contracts which makes upgrading easier than ever before.
Although you’re likely to pay a little more in the long-term, this gives you more freedom and the O2 recycle plan could provide you with a lump sum towards your next device.
If you like to update regularly, O2 would be a good choice.
With their SIM-only plans, they all come with a 12-month contract which means you’ll only need to pay a termination fee if you leave before one year.
Similar to EE, Three requires a payment of 97% of the remaining contract when you decide to cancel.
This being said, loyal customers – those who have renewed or upgraded previously – will only have to pay 90% which can be a big difference.
If you haven’t heard of giffgaff previously, they’re a brilliant company who don’t work with contracts which means the early termination fee simply doesn’t exist.
Depending on your needs, you just change the ‘goodybag’ or cancel.
If your handset came from a giffgaff store, your payment plan will continue regardless of where you buy the new device.
Finally, you never have to pay for cancellation within the first month with Vodafone because they have a 30-day network guarantee.
If the first month has been and gone, the termination fee will apply.
Until you’ve paid the first six bills, your handset actually belongs to Vodafone so this is important to remember.
There we have it, your options for cancellation with each provider and the alternative solutions you could use.
These days, network providers are extremely competitive with one another so they’re more willing to be flexible. As you use this, and be smart yourself, you can always enjoy the right contract and smartphone at the right times!