How To Get Out Of Cell Phone Plans: Trading In T-Mobile For The iPhone?

How To Get Out Of Cell Phone Plans: Trading In T-Mobile For The iPhone?

It’s not exactly a pleasure to deal with our cell phone company. When we finally decided that we wanted out (we were tired of poor reception, expensive text messages, and more), we learned firsthand about the woes of terminating a cell phone plan.

The Problem

Most cell phone agreements last for about two years, but sometimes you just have to break free—whether because you’re moving to a new city or are trading in your T-Mobile account in order to get the new iPhone 4. That said, breaking a cell phone contract often costs $175 to $225.

The Solution

Get someone else to take over your plan for you, so you don’t actually have to terminate yours.

The Action

Try out Cellswapper, a website that helps users find other customers to take over the remaining months in their contracts. Although some service providers have caught on and changed their lease swapping rules (cough, cough, Verizon and ATT-Cingular), most other providers will allow an outside person to take over your lease, even one that is less than 12 months. That absolves you from financial responsibility or obligations for the remainder of the contract.

One- And Two-Way Swaps

A one-way swap entails someone taking over your contract, but a two-way swap attempts to pair you with someone willing to take over your contract when you take over his or hers. This has the potential to cut in half the entire process of ditching your contract and finding a new one.

Sweetening The Deal

If you have a crappy provider that no one will want to switch to, you have the option of sweetening the deal for a potential buyer by offering a cash incentive to the person who takes over your plan. Cellswapper charges $15 for a successful swap (it’s free to post your ad), so any incentive you offer is on top of that fee. Nonetheless, these amounts are small when compared to $200 to break a contract through the carrier.

Good For Those Shopping Phone Plans, Too

People looking to pick up a short-term phone contract have had a lot of success with this service, since it allows them to try out different service providers before committing. It also lets them buy into older service deals (like an introductory data plan rate) that may no longer be offered by the company.

Phone Not Required…But Appreciated

It’s not mandatory that you ship out your phone with any contract sale. However, offering your phone and any other cellular accessories along with the contract transfer is the best way to ensure you find a taker. And frankly, it makes your ad a bit more snazzy.

Premium Services And Deals

For $20 to $25, you can sign up for special plans that display your contract ad more prominently—and allow you to skip the $15 success fee. To incentivize the “two-way swap” deal, you’ll also be refunded 25% of your service fee if you take over another user’s cell phone plan in turn.

These swapping sites may not take out all the pains and complications of getting out of an unwanted lease, but they certainly help keep your hard earned dollars in place.


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