Verizon won’t replace my broken phone – do I still owe an early termination fee?

Northfoto / Shutterstock.com
Northfoto / Shutterstock.com
Question: We were happy Alltel Wireless customers for several years. In July 2011, Verizon Wireless took over our local Alltel service. During this transition we were assured that Verizon would meet our needs just as Alltel had for several years. We chose to stay with Verizon as they transferred our plan and made wonderful promises.

Our wireless phone needs are very basic. We have four lines, all of which require only minimal minutes and texting services (two are used by my senior-citizen parents). We would even do without video messaging.

Recently, my husband’s phone broke. As it is very snowy where we live, it is preferable for him to have a phone while commuting to work for safety. I contacted Verizon to replace the phone and was informed that I would not be able to add a replacement phone to my current contract and would need to pick a new plan. I offered to pay full price for the phone to avoid signing a contract and asked if I would then be able to put the replacement phone on my old contract. I was told “no” in no uncertain terms.
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Why did T-Mobile charge me an early termination fee?

Pavel Ignatov/Shutterstock
Pavel Ignatov/Shutterstock
Question: I recently discontinued my T-Mobile wireless service in what I hoped would be a smooth transition. It wasn’t. As I began to pay my final bill, I realized that I had been charged a $200 early termination fee. This was a surprise to me, because I thought I had been operating on a month-to-month contract for several months.

I signed up with T-Mobile in the summer of 2011, and after about a year I realized that I had been paying entirely too much for the unlimited plan. So I decided to change my plan. When I looked at plan options, I wanted something that was cheaper, but I also wanted to end my contract and go month-to-month, which would give me the flexibility to go to the company of my choice.

When I chose a plan change, I selected an option where I also would pay a termination fee of $100 to end the contract that I was under. I reasoned that the termination fee would pay for itself with the lower plan option in a couple of months. My plan was to wait for a couple of months and then make a decision on where to go next.
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An early termination fee — and now, a collection agency

An early termination fee — and now, a collection agency
Cellular tower, waiting to be disconnected. / Photo by Gary Lerude – Flickr

Question: I am having problems with Verizon Wireless and I hope you can help me. A few months ago, I heard about a way to get out of my contract without paying an early termination fee. Verizon was changing the terms of its contract by increasing a regulatory fee, and we had 60 days to opt out.
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