A fellow NACBA member has found out something very useful I would like to share with you.
If you want to get out of your cell phone contact with Sprint, you have a short opportunity to do so without paying an early termination fee (ETF).
The way it works is this – when a wireless carrier makes changes to the language in their “Terms of Service” agreement, you have a right to reject it and drop the carrier without an early termination fee. Sprint has just raised their internal administrative fees again - to 0.99¢ per month, from their original fee hike of 0.75¢ in December. The December fee hike opened a window until early January, and the second hike in January opened up a new window until January 31. As a result of this administrative fee increase, anyone who is currently under contract with Sprint can leave the carrier early without paying termination fees. There are only two catches to this deal:
First, you can only cancel the service without getting hammered with an Early Termination Fee if you do it by January 31, 2009 AND, second, VERY IMPORTANT, you need to call Sprint and ask specifically about the rate hike first.
In short, ask about the rate hike first, and then use the rate hike as your reason for canceling service. Make sure you follow Sprint’s instructions on how to cancel properly and follow up in writing to make sure they have done it.
Since it’s only a few days until the end of the month, you've got only a few days left before the window of opportunity closes.
Why the hike? Money problems. Sprint just cut 8,000 jobs, about 15% of its workforce, trying to reduce its costs by $1.2 billion, so they need that extra fifteen cents.
What if you already canceled and got hit with an ETF? Do not despair. Sprint just settled a class action regarding these. If you had a wireless contract with Sprint from July 1999 and December 2008 that contained a time based ETF fee clause and can prove that you were charged an ETF fee, you could get back up to $90. Even if you didn’t cancel, you could get a $35 settlement fee just because you kept the contract for fear of getting hit with an ETF. There are a lot of hoops to jump through, and there are some exceptions and reductions in payouts, but you can start by going to www.sprintetfsettlement.com and registering.
Of course, keep in mind that changing carriers can be like going from the frying pan into the fire and there is no guarantee the replacement carrier will be much better.
Also, I’ve read that since Palm will soon be debuting a new web-based operating system exclusively using Sprint (for a time), canceling now could open up an opportunity to re-sign with Sprint later on in exchange for a free or low cost Palm Pre device.
So, whatever you decide to do, don’t dawdle. Sprint.