How to Get Out of “Service Contracts”

by Justin Weinger on September 19, 2006

While searching MSN Money today, I came across an interesting article about ways consumers can get out of “service contracts” (e.g. gym memberships, cell phone contracts, etc.) without having to pay exorbitant fees or having to wait until the contract expires.

Unfortunately, with the way things work today, it’s almost a given that if you want to use a particular service, you’re probably going to have to sign a contract obligating you to pay for said service for a set period of time (usually a year), or you will have to pay a hefty fee to break the contracts.

That being said, according to the article there are several things you can do in order to get out of a contract without paying extra fees.  While following the ideas given in the article certainly don’t ensure your cancellation will be hassle free, it certainly won’t hurt to try the following suggestions:

  1. Let the company know you are unhappy with their service.  A contract is a two way obligation.  If you feel the company isn’t holding up their end of the deal, let them know you are unhappy.  If you get the run around, threaten to report the company to the Better Business Bureau – it will probably help you get results quicker.
  2. When talking to a customer service representative, be polite.  As with most things in life, you’re much more likely to get results if you are polite than if you are rude.  There’s really no need to take out your frustrations on a customer service rep when in all actuality they aren’t the root of your problem.  However, if you don’t get the support you need from the representative, don’t hesitate to ask to speak to their supervisor.
  3. ALWAYS PAY YOUR BILL, EVEN IF YOU DON’T WANT TO!  Don’t ever resort to “sticking it” to the company by not paying your bills.  The only thing not paying your bills will do is ruin your credit score and potentially put you in a financial bind.  Make sure you stay on top of your bills until you are certain you are out of the contract.

Obviously, there are a lot more suggestions in the article, but I thought the three items listed above were the best.

Moral of the story – understand what you’re getting into when you sign a contract and expect some hassles if you try to get out of the contract.

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