From time to time, US carriers decide to change the terms of their contracts. The changes usually involve increases in some sort of fee. When carriers do this, customers can sometimes get out of their wireless contracts without having to pay early termination fees (ETFs). T-Mobile has just made one of those contract changes.
According to the Consumerist, T-Mobile USA will be raising overage rates on September 1, 2009. Customers with individual rate plans less than $59.99 and family plans under $89.99 will see their per minute overage rates increase to $0.45. All other plans will increase to $0.40. If you’ve been wanting to get out of your T-Mobile contract without that pesky ETF, now’s your chance!
The contract changes are apparently enough to be considered a “materially adverse change of contract,” which gives the customer grounds for contract termination without incurring an ETF. T-Mobile customer service reps will probably try to tell you that you’ve never had an overage charge or that your call history shows you’re not at risk of overages, so you’re not affected by the contract changes. That doesn’t matter. What matters is that the change might affect you at some point in the future. It’s all very legalese.
Here’s the pertinent section of the contract, in case you want to give T-Mobile customer service a ring:
“Changes to the Agreement or Charges. EXCEPT TO THE EXTENT PROHIBITED BY LAW, IF WE: (A) INCREASE THE CHARGES INCLUDED IN YOUR MONTHLY RECURRING ACCESS RATE PLAN, OR (B) MODIFY A MATERIAL TERM OF OUR AGREEMENT WITH YOU AND THE MODIFICATION WOULD BE MATERIALLY ADVERSE TO YOU, WE WILL NOTIFY YOU OF THE INCREASE OR MODIFICATION AND YOU CAN CANCEL THAT SERVICE WITHOUT PAYING A CANCELLATION FEE (WHICH IS YOUR ONLY REMEDY) BY FOLLOWING THE CANCELLATION INSTRUCTIONS IN THE NOTICE. IF YOU DO NOT CANCEL YOUR SERVICE BY FOLLOWING THOSE INSTRUCTIONS, OR YOU OTHERWISE ACCEPT THE CHANGE, THEN YOU AGREE TO THE INCREASE OR MODIFICATION, EVEN IF YOU PAID FOR SERVICE IN ADVANCE. IF THE NOTICE DOES NOT SAY HOW LONG YOU HAVE TO CANCEL, THEN IT IS WITHIN 14 DAYS AFTER THE DATE OF THE NOTICE, UNLESS A LONGER PERIOD IS REQUIRED BY LAW. EXCEPT TO THE EXTENT PROHIBITED BY LAW, CHARGES FOR PRODUCTS, SERVICES, OPTIONAL SERVICES, OR ANY OTHER CHARGES THAT ARE NOT INCLUDED IN YOUR MONTHLY RECURRING ACCESS RATE PLAN (SUCH AS DIRECTORY ASSISTANCE, ROAMING, DOWNLOADS, AND THIRD-PARTY CONTENT) ARE SUBJECT TO CHANGE AT ANY TIME WITHOUT NOTICE, AND IF YOU CONTINUE TO USE THOSE SERVICES, OR YOU OTHERWISE AGREE TO THE CHANGES, THEN YOU AGREE TO THE NEW CHARGES. VISIT OUR WEB SITE, RETAIL LOCATIONS, OR CALL CUSTOMER CARE FOR CURRENT CHARGES.”