How to get out of your AT&T contract early without an early termination fee

This month AT&T started charging a monthly "Mobility Administrative Fee" of $0.61 to mobile customers. If you want to get out of your contract early, you can use this fee increase to cancel the contract without paying an early termination fee.

This fee offers a rare chance to fight back against a corporate giant. You can use the administrative fee as a loophole to break your contract, without having to pay any costly early termination fees.

Even if the monthly fee isn't a big deal to you, upgrading your phone early probably is. By canceling your contract, you can get a new Samsung Galaxy S4 or HTC One with AT&T or another wireless carrier at the cheaper subsidized pricing.

Nelson Aguilar at Wonder How To describes how to do it

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  1. Yo, if that “administrative fee” affects you and you want to do something about it (like get out of the contract), you’ve got today and tomorrow to send that letter to AT&T disputing the charge.  Otherwise the 30-day limit expires and you’re stuck.

  2. Once you leave AT&T through early termination, you are no longer their customer, and are then viewed as an opponent, and you will be treated as such. I’ve been fighting AT&T for the better part of a decade over ETF that I was promised during termination would not be charged to me.

    Interestingly enough, when I had reason to leave Sprint through early termination over a decade ago (kept charging fees for services I didn’t order, Sprint admitted fault), I had no problems with them whatsoever. I even got an apology letter.

        1. The contract that you terminated before the withdraw of money after termination?  That contact?

  3. And once you leave AT&T, what then? Save a few bucks in exchange for worse service? In my experience, AT&T is way better than its online reputation, and faster more reliable than both Verizon and Sprint. I’m in the DC area and your experience may of course be different. 

    1.  Terminate your contract from ATT and switch to Solavei for $49 a month, unlimited Talk, text and data.

    2. Seriously! There’s better way to Get cell service! I justFIRED AT&T today! www 49ygratis.Com With thiS’s I have unlimited Everything…
      $49/mo, now knowing I can leave without early termination fee…. i have 4 more lines to switch!!

  4. For those that do decide they’ve had enough with hidden charges and paying over $100 and many times much more, consider an alternative. http://bit.ly/17gRQ9e

  5. I only use my Virgin phone in major metropolitan areas, but my 4g unlimited service streams videos and music flawlessly. I pay $25 a month for it, and I’m not tied to a contract. 

  6. The real winning move would be:

    You recently bought a high end smartphone through att.
    You use this to escape the contract.
    You then buy cheaper network access through tmobile or an att network mvno (eg net10).

    1. How do you use the cheaper service given that your phone is still locked to AT&T?

      1. I will show YOU How I did It for hundreds customers… contact me cleaninglady.. There’s better way to Get cell service! I justFIRED AT&T! www 49ygratis.Com With thiS’s I have unlimited Everything..$49/mo

  7. To give this a quick and relatively painless try I called customer support to see if I could cancel a line I have laying around on my family plan. Long story short the rep was not having it (politely). His argument was that any fee that one subscribes to that is raised in price can be eligible for this loophole, but not an administrative fee as it is exempt in the legal terms. Below is the specific clause. Although this didn’t work for me the rep was nice enough to lower my bill by about 15$ a month through a discount  (which helps considering that line comes to about $13 a month with tax or so).

    1.3   Can AT&T Change My Terms And Rates?We may change any terms, conditions, rates, fees, expenses, or charges regarding your Services at any time. We will provide you with notice of material changes (other than changes to governmental fees, proportional charges for governmental mandates, roaming rates or administrative charges) either in your monthly bill or separately. You understand and agree that State and Federal Universal Service Fees and other governmentally imposed fees, whether or not assessed directly upon you, may be increased based upon the government’s or our calculations.IF WE INCREASE THE PRICE OF ANY OF THE SERVICES TO WHICH YOU SUBSCRIBE, BEYOND THE LIMITS SET FORTH IN YOUR CUSTOMER SERVICE SUMMARY, OR IF WE MATERIALLY DECREASE THE GEOGRAPHICAL AREA IN WHICH YOUR AIRTIME RATE APPLIES (OTHER THAN A TEMPORARY DECREASE FOR REPAIRS OR MAINTENANCE), WE’LL DISCLOSE THE CHANGE AT LEAST ONE BILLING CYCLE IN ADVANCE (EITHER THROUGH A NOTICE WITH YOUR BILL, A TEXT MESSAGE TO YOUR DEVICE, OR OTHERWISE), AND YOU MAY TERMINATE THIS AGREEMENT WITHOUT PAYING AN EARLY TERMINATION FEE OR RETURNING OR PAYING FOR ANY PROMOTIONAL ITEMS, PROVIDED YOUR NOTICE OF TERMINATION IS DELIVERED TO US WITHIN THIRTY (30) DAYS AFTER THE FIRST BILL REFLECTING THE CHANGE.If you lose your eligibility for a particular rate plan, we may change your rate plan to one for which you qualify.

    1. The dreaded 1.3 is just so poorly written (on purpose, may I add) and ambiguous, it allows AT&T to shove all bullshit to it.

      My favorite part is when they say:

      “We will provide you with notice of material changes (other than changes to governmental fees, proportional charges for governmental mandates, roaming rates or administrative charges) either in your monthly bill or separately.”

      So they will provide you with notice of material changes, except when it comes to administrative charges, which is in fact a material change due to the “other than”. Basically, it’s like McDonald’s saying, “You can have all the free food you want (other than burgers, fries, breakfast, anything on the dollar menu, etc etc).

      Then they go on to note that an increase in the price of any of the services you subscribe to allow you to escape your ETF. Since it says, “State and Federal Universal Service Fees and other governmentally imposed fees, whether or not assessed directly upon you, may be increased based upon the government’s or our calculations” any increase in the cost of service (apart from government fees) allows you to get out of paying an ETF.

      But then they add the subscribed sentence to bail themselves out. The main reason I wrote the article though, was so that people could not only try and void out of their contract but also to earn credits and save money (as you did). 

      So it’s dope that you saved some money haha

  8. I don’t have a dog in this fight, but if AT&T’s “Let’s gouge the customer for an additional $0.61 a month just because we can, it’s like found money, really” strategy causes a massive exodus from their network, I will laugh and laugh and laugh.

  9. Switch from AT&T and Verizon whenever you can. Punish them. They are why our data plans are insane. Monthly minutes became worthless. Texting became worthless. Now we hammer away at data.

    1. Minutes are worthless? Texting is worthless? These both appear on my bill, and are a substantial part of the whole. Oh, and Verizon already charges a similar fee. Its larger than the new at&t fee btw.

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