I Want to Get out of My Cellphone Contract
You might be unhappy with your cellphone service, unable to afford it, or planning to relocate. Whatever the reason, sometimes you may want to cancel your cellphone contract before the contract period is up.
Within 15 days of signing a phone contract, you have a legal right to cancel the contract, without penalty, if you are not happy with your service. This is called the trial period. After the trial period, you can cancel your phone contract at any time but you will have to pay an early cancellation fee. The early cancellation fee can be no more than $50. The exception is if you got a free or discounted phone as part of signing your phone contract. In that case, you’ll have to pay for the phone if you cancel early.
As well, there are some circumstances that enable you to get out of your phone contract without paying an early cancellation fee. For example, if your provider changes a key term or condition of your phone contract without your consent.
- Calculate your cancellation costs. Your cancellation costs will depend on when you signed your contract and whether you received a free or discounted phone. The Wireless Code sets out a formula to calculate the cancellation costs.
- Cancel the contract. To cancel your contract, typically you would phone, email or send regular mail to notify your service provider of the cancellation. Check your contract to see if there is a specific way they want you to cancel.
What happens next
Your service provider must cancel your services right away (unless you specify a later cancellation date) – you don’t need to provide 30 days notice. If your phone is locked to your provider’s network, you will have to get your phone unlocked in order to use your phone with another provider. You have a legal right to have your phone unlocked, at no charge, upon request.
Where to get help
See the Resource List for a list of helpful resources. As well:
- The Commission for Complaints for Telecom-television Services (CCTS) administers the Wireless Code and deals with consumer complaints about cellphone service. They can be reached toll-free at 1-888-221-1687 or at www.ccts-cprst.ca.
- The People's Law School website, in the “Consumer” section, includes indepth information on making and cancelling cellphone contracts.
Before meeting with a lawyer or advocate, complete the form Preparing for Your Interview included in this Guide. Make sure you bring copies of all documents relating to your case.
|This information applies to British Columbia, Canada. Last reviewed for legal accuracy by Drew Jackson, December 2017.|
|Legal Help for British Columbians © Cliff Thorstenson and Courthouse Libraries BC is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.5 Canada Licence.|
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Agreement; the giving of permission for a thing to happen or not happen.
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