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Get Out of Sprint Free 153

Posted by kdawson
from the open-door dept.
hyades1 writes in to let us know that Sprint has extended to Jan. 31 the time in which subscribers can switch carriers without paying an early termination fee. "Last month we learned that Sprint was increasing its administrative fee to $0.75, giving customers until January 1 of this year to back out without a penalty. It seems that $0.75 wasn't going to cut it as Sprint has raised its fee yet again, this time to $0.99. Customers now have through January 31 to sever ties sans-ETF, so if you missed the boat last month you're in luck. Though some customer care reps apparently aren't yet aware of the change, we did confirm it with Sprint so keep trying and as always, contacting them via chat seems to go a bit more smoothly than calling them up."
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Get Out of Sprint Free

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday January 20, 2009 @06:05PM (#26537375)

    If so, I expect to see a story about how T-Mobile customers can get MyFaves for free, since that's also something people on mobile phone forums are talking about.

  • Seems like every time I get close to getting out, my phone breaks and I have to extend my 2 year contract again...
    • by tchuladdiass (174342) on Tuesday January 20, 2009 @06:10PM (#26537463) Homepage

      why would you have to extend? Just buy a replacement phone at full price. Personally, I don't find it worth it to save $100 or so by committing to spend 24 x $90/month.

      • by vux984 (928602) on Tuesday January 20, 2009 @06:24PM (#26537669)

        why would you have to extend? Just buy a replacement phone at full price. Personally, I don't find it worth it to save $100 or so by committing to spend 24 x $90/month.

        Unless of course you were going to spend 24x90 anyway. Its not like you get a reduced rate if you buy the equipment outright, so you might as well take the subsidies.

        • This may be a better deal now, but a few years ago the wireless carriers were constantly coming out with better plans than their competitors, not to mention that the selection of handsets from the carriers differed significantly. It was a good day when my Nextel contract was up several years ago (just after Sprint bought them out).

        • by tknd (979052) on Tuesday January 20, 2009 @07:35PM (#26538663)
          No, never. If you keep signing 2 year contracts we'll never have competitive rates because you keep giving up your biggest bargaining chip. When you are monthly, you can cancel at any point for bad service and they lose market share while their competitor gains market share. You can use this to negotiate down your monthly rate on a monthly basis rather than every 2 years.
          • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

            by geminidomino (614729) *

            Nope. These days, even if you've exhausted your contract and have gone monthly, they don't care about retention. At least, AT&T doesn't.

        • Its not like you get a reduced rate if you buy the equipment outright, so you might as well take the subsidies.

          Actually, there was a time a few years ago when I called to cancel service because I was "out of contract" with a still-working phone. The rep (AT&T/Cingular at the time) offered me a break of $5/month to stick with them, with my old phone. I took them up on it.

          Of course, don't play this gambit if you don't have a viable switch plan, but know that it may work.

          • You know Cingular offered me a similar cheap rate ($10 a month) until suddenly they announced my fee was increasing to $30 a month in three months time. I asked why and they gave me the excuse, "We eliminated the low price plans. $30 is now our cheapest rate."

            Stupidity. I switched to VirginMobile instead. Sometimes I think these companies like shooting themselves in the foot.

        • But you *could* get a reduced service rate or other goodies.

          Let the contract ride. When you get close to your date you'll start getting calls regarding your account. But the ball is in your court to negotiate with them because you can freely leave once the date passes. Most carriers don't like letting customers leave (hence the early term fee) and they'll do almost anything to keep you. They'll try to sell you phones or something, but pretend you're going to switch and hold out for free services and discoun

          • by vux984 (928602)

            But you *could* get a reduced service rate or other goodies.

            What do you think a phone subsidy is? If not a 'goodie'?

            Look, if you already have a nice phone, and don't want/need one, than sure, go MTM, and haggle for all your worth, but if you need a new phone anyway, taking the subsidy is usually the best deal.

            For example, right now, with my carrier I can get a new razr2 on a 2year for $149. To buy it outright with no contract is $500, a difference of $350.

            What am I going to get by haggling that's going to b

            • Obviously it depends. If you just want a new phone and they have nothing else of value to offer you then get the phone. The point was you can negotiate if you wanted to rather than bend over and do what they tell you. In your case you could try negotiating for $100 on that phone instead of $149 plus some comp for the $10/mo stuff.

        • Unless of course you were going to spend 24x90 anyway. Its not like you get a reduced rate if you buy the equipment outright, so you might as well take the subsidies.

          I hope the USA eventually catch up to Europe in this area too.

          Here in the UK, T-Mobile does offer incentives for people NOT wishing to take up the subsidiaries.

          For example they have a special offer on their Solo (Sim Only) tarrif, where you have 600 minuites of calls (Landlines and mobiles), unlimited included SMS in the UK to UK numbers, as well Internet (1GB per month limit), for £20 ($30) a month. There is no lengthy commitments, as the contract is a 30 day rolling contract (cancel at any tim

        • by MrNemesis (587188)

          Been buying my own phones at full retail price (usually circa £300) since about 2002. Every year I get the "do you want to upgrade to a new Nokiericsung Eleventytron with LASERS?!" call, and say no (primarily because I'm damn picky about my mobiles, and 95% of the ones offered as "free" are junk with shitty flashy UIs and the battery life of a Game Gear.

          Upshot? They no longer have a bargaining chip to get me to sign a new contract. They know I can get cheaper deals elsewhere and transfer my number wit

          • by vux984 (928602)

            Been buying my own phones at full retail price (usually circa £300) since about 2002. [...]
            I reckon I'm saving on the order of £150-£200/yr.

            So the question is ultimately simply whether the amout you spend on a phone at full retail is less than they are giving you in perks. It sounds like in your case they probably are, especially as it sounds like you are stretching the life of your phone.

            I noted elsewhere in this thread, that for me, the phone I'm using is $500 full retail vs $15

      • I tend to get 5 new phones a year to extend current contract. And the ones I don't use/distribute to family, I can sell on Ebay for $100 a pop. It's like a refund.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Enderandrew (866215)

      Or buy a cheap replacement phone off Ebay and then wait until your contract is up.

    • by todrules (882424) on Tuesday January 20, 2009 @06:42PM (#26537921) Journal
      You're with T-mobile. They're a GSM carrier. Just buy a new phone on Ebay. There's a great selection of GSM phones. Also, (and I'm not sure if this works any more), but you used to be able to buy a cheap, prepaid GSM phone, and then just put your postpaid SIM in there. Cheap, easy way to get a replacement.
      • by Kindaian (577374) on Tuesday January 20, 2009 @08:12PM (#26539153) Homepage

        Why get a replacement at all?

        Just scrap the GSM phone.

        When you are around the computer use voip... if not, well, people can send you an email!

        And, use the free time you just got with all those useless calls to get a nice warm cup of *whatever*, and relax...

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          And, use the free time you just got with all those useless calls to get a nice warm cup of *whatever*, and relax...

          Well, I've got to admit, you've got a point. If I didn't get all those 'useless' calls, I sure would have a lot of free time. Hooray for one-size-fits-all solutions.

        • Just scrap the GSM phone.

          Agreed. CDMA is far superior.

        • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

          by DeBaas (470886)

          Why get a replacement at all?

          Just scrap the GSM phone.

          When you are around the computer use voip... if not, well, people can send you an email!

          And, use the free time you just got with all those useless calls to get a nice warm cup of *whatever*, and relax...

          This message was brought to you by Starbucks ??

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          Why get a replacement at all?

          Just scrap the GSM phone.

          When you are around the computer use voip... if not, well, people can send you an email!

          And, use the free time you just got with all those useless calls to get a nice warm cup of *whatever*, and relax...
          What glue sniffer marked this as informative? Pop quiz hot shot, your car breaks down, and you need to call a tow truck, and your cat 5 cable ran out several miles away. Though you do have a point in that scenario there certainly will be plenty of free t

      • eBay is also home to some of the scummiest web vendors I've ever seen. They'll send you a refurb phone marked as new, let you post a good service mark, then it'll go dead and you'll either be out your money, or have to pay them to fix it.

      • by Andy Dodd (701)

        I'm 90% certain you can do this with T-Mo, and 100% certain for AT&T (as I have done it with AT&T phones to obtain a backup in case of my primary failing).

        Also, both T-Mo and AT&T sell some cheap Nokia prepaid phones that are from a model range that people have figured out the unlock code algorithm for, so you can unlock them without the carrier's cooperation (I have not done this though. I was close to doing so when my girlfriend was a T-Mo customer, but she was able to get out of it due to la

    • by WiiVault (1039946)
      buy a crappy old one off eBay, something to last you a few months. Usually you can find one for $20 tops.
      • Yeah that's true, also someone said I could buy a Pay-as-you-go phone from a retail store and just switch the sims. But I don't use crappy phones either, like right now I have an HTC Shadow smartphone. I've got a screen saver, rubber case, and am protecting it with my life! lol
  • Virgin mobile... (Score:1, Interesting)

    by samriel (1456543)
    Virgin Mobile raised text and speech pay-as-you-go rates with the only warning being, get this, at text message which costs YOU to recieve. Where's my back-out date?
  • Do any of you know of a way to escape contract with Alltel without paying the early termination fee? I'm sick of the 5-7 day delay in getting my voicemail messages! ):

    • by Hordeking (1237940) on Tuesday January 20, 2009 @06:23PM (#26537647)

      Do any of you know of a way to escape contract with Alltel without paying the early termination fee? I'm sick of the 5-7 day delay in getting my voicemail messages! ):

      Claim they're breaking the contract by not providing you with service. You're paying them to deliver messages in a timely manner, not take messages like shithead roommates.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Colonel Korn (1258968)

        Do any of you know of a way to escape contract with Alltel without paying the early termination fee? I'm sick of the 5-7 day delay in getting my voicemail messages! ):

        Claim they're breaking the contract by not providing you with service. You're paying them to deliver messages in a timely manner, not take messages like shithead roommates.

        Look for fee increases. Most carriers increase some sort of fee every couple of months. You then have a window where they're legally required to let you out of your contract.

    • by wpiman (739077) on Tuesday January 20, 2009 @06:24PM (#26537663)
      File an online petition with the FCC claiming the service doesn't work as advertised and they will let you go.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by SlashdotOgre (739181)

      Alltell is being bought out by Verizon, so perhaps that will resolve your problem (and if they're changing fees, it may give you an excuse to bounce). However I've had Verizon's cellular service for over a decade now and have never had the VM issues you describe, so it may be worth just waiting it out. I'd recommend checking howardforums.com as it's one of the best cellular forums on the net.

    • It's unfortunate that the US has little to no consumer protection, here in Australia there's the TIO (www.tio.gov.au) or the state based Consumer Affairs/Department of Fair Trading that deals with these issues. At the mere mention of these bodies the carriers quickly release you from contract, or prepare for a massive legal battle without any cost to you.

      • It's unfortunate that the US has little to no consumer protection, here in Australia there's the TIO (www.tio.gov.au) or the state based Consumer Affairs/Department of Fair Trading that deals with these issues. At the mere mention of these bodies the carriers quickly release you from contract, or prepare for a massive legal battle without any cost to you.

        www.fcc.gov [fcc.gov] and www.ftc.gov [fcc.gov], respectively.

    • Google death certificate and legal documents. Get a letterhead from a law office and fill it all out to sound good. Send it in. See what happens. Never tired it but it just might work. Do you really think they are so bright as to check up on every single legal doc?
    • by AusIV (950840)
      I don't know if Alltell will let you do this, but I use Grand Central for voice mail. The intent of Grand Central is that you have one phone number that rings multiple other phone numbers. But they also have a great voice mail service. I registered an account (free), set a quick rule to go straight to voice mail.

      My phone let me specify a number for forwarding calls when I'm unavailable. I switched it from T-Mobile's voice mail number to my Grand Central number.

      Now I can get text messages when someone leav

  • CDMA (Score:5, Insightful)

    by PCM2 (4486) on Tuesday January 20, 2009 @06:20PM (#26537603) Homepage

    Seems as though the only people I know who actively choose Sprint choose it because Sprint is the only viable option where they live. The GSM carriers' coverage really starts to suffer in the big, wide-open spaces of the Midwest.

    • by ZeroPly (881915)

      I choose Sprint because I'm on their SERO plan and get 450 peak minutes, unlimited data, unlimited texts, and 7pm night and weekends for $29.99 a month. My bill with all the taxes and fees is $37 every month. No other carrier comes close to that.

      • I'm on the opposite end of the spectrum. I use my phone for web access, mail, and 8-10k (yes, that's thousand) minutes per month.

        No one has opted to match thier $100/mo "unlimited voice/data/text" plan (not "everything" as the name would imply) which is disappointing because I loath my Moto q and would love to switch to a GSM network and get an Android.

    • by dfm3 (830843)
      That's funny about the Midwest, because here in the rural south I've noticed the opposite. Almost nobody uses Sprint, because once you get more than a few miles from the center of a major city, service is terrible at best. Not even the interstates and major highways have full coverage. The only reason we have Sprint is because we have a family plan, and part of the family spends most of their time in large Midwestern cities (where apparently it works great. But don't all carriers have their best coverage in
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Solandri (704621)

        Many of Sprint's plans have free roaming. If yours does and you're in an area with poor reception, try switching your phone to roaming only. Verizon is one of Sprint's roaming partners (so was Alltel, but Verizon bought them). So usually you can get a decent signal anywhere you could with the other carriers. If you don't switch to roaming-only, the phone tries to connect to a Sprint network even if its signal is almost nonexistent while the Verizon signal is strong.

        Do NOT do this if you're near Canad

      • I have it on good authority that Verizon is good in the rural south.

    • Not only is this Sprint early termination fee waiver old news, the article gets all the information wrong. The Administrative Charge is being increased from $0.75 to $0.99 beginning on January 1, 2009 [sprint.com]. You have thirty days after the change in fees to ask for the ETF waiver, and you have to specifically mention that you are termination due to the change in fees. [sprint.com] I canceled my Sprint account back in December and moved to T-Mobile.

      Sprint was terrible. The bills were always wrong and I wasted hours each month g

    • I USED to be a Sprint customer years back here in KC. I always had dropped calls and their customer service was horrible. They were also had expensive packages. This is their headquarters and the service sucked around town. You'd think they'd have enough pride to man up on their home field. Then, when my contract was up and I switched my number, they still tried to stiff me for the $150 fee. It took a lot of my time to correct, and they still stiffed me for another month of service. I have friends wh
    • by ivan256 (17499)

      Sprint has the cheapest data plans by far. $15 for unlimited data with bluetooth tethering on a smartphone.... If you like using data service, and you get Sprint coverage in the places you go frequently, it's a good choice. Yeah, their customer service sucks, especially in their stores, but the same goes for AT&T and Verizon.

    • by MobyTurbo (537363) *

      Seems as though the only people I know who actively choose Sprint choose it because Sprint is the only viable option where they live. The GSM carriers' coverage really starts to suffer in the big, wide-open spaces of the Midwest.

      I chose them because they were the only carrier to allow me a data plan that was both relatively reasonable and didn't require a huge deposit. They also have excellent coverage here in New York.

  • Odd... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by operagost (62405) on Tuesday January 20, 2009 @06:33PM (#26537801) Homepage Journal
    Seems to me, that since they are breaching the contract, you can terminate at any time. What's with the time limit? Once they increase the fee, all contracts with Sprint are, by law, NULL AND VOID.
    • Re:Odd... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Chyeld (713439) <chyeldNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Tuesday January 20, 2009 @06:46PM (#26537965)

      Like credit card companies, the wireless companies write into their contract the ability to 'revise' terms as they deem necessary. As long as they provide you a copy of the updated terms and conditions with a note along the lines of "if you don't contact us by such and such a date to tell us you reject these changes, they are in effect".

      In theory, you should be able to contact them and tell them you reject the changes, in which case you are still on your old contract and/or they negotiate a different set of changes for you. In practice, they also tell you refusal to accept the changes will result in the termination of your account. Since the termination is their decision rather than yours, they aren't suppose to be able to levee any 'early cancelation' fees.

      Not that that stops it from happening.

      • Re:Odd... (Score:4, Informative)

        by Rich0 (548339) on Tuesday January 20, 2009 @07:28PM (#26538591) Homepage

        This applies to any contract. Regardless of what is written in the agreement, no party to a contract may make a material change to an agreement after the fact without the other parties (possibly implied) consent. A material change is any change impacting the substance of the agreement - ie it might have impacted your decision to enter into the agreement in the first place. Money of any kind is almost always considered material. Maybe if we're talking a 50 cent error in a $100M real estate deal it might not be - but nobody would even bother to try to extract an extra 50 cents on such a deal anyway.

        Is your credit card company raising interest rates (outside of the variable terms already set forth)? Just tell them no. They can choose to close your account, but you can pay off the remaining balance under the original terms. Or, they could choose to continue under the original terms (which is fair).

        Anything to the contrary in any contract you sign of any kind simply isn't enforcable. Any court would throw out terms allowing unilateral changes after the fact. They might be able to imply consent if they clearly warn you of the changes and then give you a reasonable time and reasonable means to inform them of your intent to not accept the change.

        Disclaimer, IANAL...

      • I wonder if it's possible to get an early termination penalty from them through small claims court by arguing that any penalties for termination of the contract should apply to both parties.
    • by themacks (1197889)
      The assumption is that if you continue paying for your service the following month, you agreed to the change in contract, thus creating a new contract.
    • by Kindaian (577374)

      Not if you accept the new terms.

      That is way they have to allow you to refuse them. ;)

      p.s.- you don't have to pay ETF because it's them that don't accept to keep the terms of the contract not you. Also, you may request an indemnification because of that. They are the ones defaulting on the contract.

  • I checked my bill, and sure enough the administrative fee has gone up. However, I don't recall getting any notice of such. Is this a state-by-state deal?

    PS: Sure enough, the SA has the materially adverse clause in it.

    PPS: Sprint sucks.

    • by dfm3 (830843)
      I think that the bill is your notice. By paying it, you are agreeing to the fee increase.

      But the sneaky behavior I've observed my CC company doing lately is this: when they change their terms, they notify you by burying the notice in a colorful envelope which looks like any other piece of junk mail. Inside the envelope are several glossy fliers and advertisements, and oh, by the way, the updated terms for your existing service are enclosed on a single pamphlet which looks at first glance like it could be f
  • I have been with sprint for almost a decade and don't have any problems with them.

    Their customer service sucks but for some reason I never had much problem with it.

    Being in southern California the coverage is damn good and the data service is fast.

    During my long commute I stream Internet radio over my phone and it just works.

    I must have just been lucky.

    • by SomeJoel (1061138)
      You must be one of the lucky ones. I had Sprint about 8 years ago and my phone went on the fritz. So, I called them (from my office phone) and got put on hold for 30 minutes. I didn't have time to wait, so I hung up. The next day, I called them early in the morning. I was on hold for four hours. When they finally got around to taking my call, after about 30 seconds the rep told me "Sounds like it's your problem" and hung up on me. After being hung up on following a four hour hold time, I called back (the ac
  • My Experience (Score:5, Informative)

    by Comatose51 (687974) on Tuesday January 20, 2009 @06:54PM (#26538123) Homepage

    The same thing happen about a year ago with international messaging rate hike. I called to cancel my plan but the rep. tried to argue that it doesn't constitute a "material change" to the contract. Seriously? Anyways, after threatening to call the California Public Utilities Commission failed, I actually called the California PUC. The PUC rep. told me that before I file a complaint, I should speak to their executive accounts customer service people so he transferred me over to their number. Some Sprint person picked up and was about to redirect me to retentions again but I told him very clearly that I've been forwarded by the PUC and am about to file a complaint. At that point, he actually forwarded me to their executive accounts people. I spoke to the lady and laid out my argument by reading the back of my bill, which contains the terms, along with the notice of the rate change. She put me on hold for a few minutes to check some stuff over and agreed with me. She even went so far as to put my account on hold and save my number so it can be ported to a new carrier. I switched to Virgin, who ironically is on the Sprint network, but having no contracts is awesome.

    Hope that helps anyone trying to leave Sprint. Don't let the retention rep scare you. If you have something like a PUC backing you up, use it! Know your rights.

  • Does anyone know if I can use this to end my 2 year agreement but continue my Sprint service? I don't plan on switching carriers, but I would like to be able to sign a new agreement for an upgrade in a few months when the Pre comes out.
  • Wasn't there a bill in Congress to eliminate early termination fees (or at least force carriers to pro-rate them)? What happened to that? (As if I had to ask -- I'm sure the lobbyists got their way.)

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by untorqued (957628)
      The major carriers pre-empted the legislation by switching to prorated ETFs. For example, my last Verizon contract had a $175 ETF, which decreased by $5 for each month you're in the contract. Still a considerable hit even if you're only a few months from the end. Just enough to keep congress at bay, I guess.
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by JohnSearle (923936)
        Not that I want to admit this, but I'm working for Sprint (temporarily) as a corporate rep. The ETF are most definitely prorated, starting at $200 and going to a minimum of $50.

        Just to let everyone know, you can also port your number without ETF within Sprint (ie: Sprint -> Boost Mobile). Boost Mobile doesn't have contracts... *hint* *hint*

        - John
  • This get out of contract free stuff happens roughly twice a year, and is mentioned extensively on appropriate sites. I am having a very hard time understanding how this is appropriate slashdot material.

    That being said, I have never had a problem with sprint, and with the SERO plan, my bill is roughly the same as what I paid back in 1998.

  • by Junta (36770)

    Leave sprint and come back in later for the decent stuff. I.e. by mid year they are supposed to have a handful of android devices and of course the palm pre. Leaving sprint and going for a month-to-month prepaid carrier may be appealing.

  • by Kindaian (577374) on Tuesday January 20, 2009 @08:09PM (#26539099) Homepage

    When using phone, you are talking, and so all your voice undertones are being served to the other side, and vice-versa.

    That will make things harder to untangle, as they get more personal, some times too personal...

    Chat doesn't have that issue, with the plus side of the reliability of information conveyed in that way... ;)

  • I'm finally free from that awful Sprint Data plan with my PC Card.
    The first month was great. 2+ Mbps.
    After I was unable to cancel my contract within the "trial balloon", speeds dropped to 100Kbps--on a good day!
    I've been shelling out money for this UNTIL NOW.
    I called them up, had to bark at the customer retention rep as he claimed that they couldn't waive it because they can do what they want neener-neener-neener take this $10 line item discount and be happy! And finally, after must protest, they cut me loo

  • I am free! Sprint's service in the Greater Phoenix Metro area is abyssmal. Calls drop as often as they go through.
  • I've always felt that contracts for cell service are a scam. Why? Setting up cell service is entirely computerized and there is almost no effort on the part of the sales or customer service people. Contracts are instead a replacement for good customer service. If you are in a contract and the service sucks it seems like the customer service rep and retention reps could care less. However, if there is nothing to prevent you from leaving, they actually have to work hard to keep you.
    • The contracts aren't technically required for cell phone service, and are not a 'setup fee'. In the US, most cell carriers subsidize the cost of the actual mobile phone that the customer carries around by 'rolling the cost' into the cost of service. So, you sign up for new service, and you get can a "$300" phone (I put it in quotes, because who knows what the actual price is the cell phone companies have to pay, and thus subsidize) for, say, $100 dollars, with the cell phone company providing a "$200" disco

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