How to cancel a phone contract early

Updated April 17, 2017

Many phone providers insist that you sign a contract that states you will keep their service for a specified period, often two or three years. Fortunately, you do not actually need to honour this contract. If you decide to change providers or simply get rid of your phone, you can do so even before the contract is fulfilled. Unfortunately, most mobile (cell) phone providers will charge a fee---often up to several hundred pounds (dollars)---to back out of a contract early.

Locate the contact number for the company with which you want to cancel your contract. This will probably be on any past bills you have from that company. You can also find the contact information on the provider's website.

Call the provider. Follow the prompts (if any) for "account cancellation," "terminate service" or something similar. If you do not hear any such options, follow the prompts to talk to an operator.

Explain that you want to cancel your service with this company. The person you are speaking with will probably ask why, and then inform you of the charges associated with cancelling your account early. He will also probably try to persuade you to stay with the company.

Provide your credit or debit card information to cover the charges associated with cancelling the account. This may be necessary, or the company may send you a bill for the charge.


Request a cancellation confirmation by e-mail or letter. This will allow you to demonstrate that you cancelled your service in case of any future misunderstanding. If you are cancelling your service because of blatant problems with the provider, consider asking to be transferred to a supervisor. You can then explain this to her and request that she waive the cancellation fee. This may or may not be successful. Before cancelling your contract early, consider that it may be more expensive to cancel the contract early than to simply keep the service--but not use it and then terminate the service after the contract has expired. For example, if you are paying £26 a month for a cell phone and your contract is finished in three months and there is an early termination fee of £130, you would in fact save £52 by keeping your service for three more months.

Things You'll Need

  • Credit or debit card
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About the Author

Morgan O'Connor has been writing professionally since 2005. Her experience includes articles on various aspects of the health-insurance industry for health-care newsletters distributed to hospitals as well as articles on both international and domestic travel.