Beware termination fee if switching cellphones

(WCPO) - Lots of cellphone carriers right now are trying to get you to switch your service. Some are even offering to pay you to switch, as much as $400 or $500.

But as one woman learned, it's not always so easy.

Thought Switch Would be Painless

Like a growing number of unhappy cellphone customers, busy professional Brittany Troescher decided it was time to make a switch.

"A lot of deals are coming out," Troescher said.  "We thought, ‘Oh my brother and his wife are on Sprint, we'll switch to Sprint too.'"

She thought she and her husband would have no problem switching from T-Mobile because their two-year contract had ended a while back.

But when she received her final bill, she was stunned.

Hefty Termination Fees

"The total with final charges, taxes, and termination fees, was $534," she said. 

She was billed more than $500 to switch two phones.

She called T-Mobile to say the termination fee was wrong, claiming her two-year contract had ended a few months back.

"They had said 'You're going to be month-to-month, we are going to put you on a lower monthly rate and you won't get new phones,'" she said.

But she claims the company still dipped into her bank account for an early release charge of $200 per phone, nearly bouncing the account.
So we contacted T-Mobile, and after investigating, the company agreed to refund her the $400 in termination fees.

That's the good news.

But there's a warning here for anyone thinking of switching from any cell carrier: Check with them first and make sure you are not still under some agreement.

Caution About Automatic Deductions

Be especially careful if the money automatically comes out of your bank account.

While paying your bill manually each month takes more time, you have more control over what you pay. That way you can correct or refuse an incorrect termination charge if you leave, and that way you don't waste your money.


Don't Waste Your Money is a registered trademark of the EW Scripps Co.

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