Sprint is buying Clearwire, and merging with SoftBank. Any time there is a shift in the way a company does business, they often have to change their Terms of Service. While that may seem trivial to you, it also represents a way out of a contract you’re not happy with — free of charge.
Free?! No early termination fee? That’s right, friends, a change in your Terms of Service often lets you escape those obnoxious early termination fees altogether. In most cases, the subscriber has 30 days to challenge the new ToS and escape unscathed. Continuing to pay for service is basically your compliance with the new terms, so watch carefully for changes.
Any change in the Terms of Service represent what is called “material change”. In legalese, a material change is any that alters the agreed upon terms. When you paid for your device and agreed to the service contract, you signed a contract. By changing the ToS, Sprint has effectively changed that contract, and vioded the agreement between yourself and them.
Sprint does not determine what material change is: that’s a legal term.
Now that Sprint has changed that contract, you may call customer support and ask that you be relieved of your contractual obligation due to adverse material changes in the terms of service. From the Sprint ToS:
If a change we make to the Agreement is material and has a material adverse effect on Services under your Term Commitment, you may terminate each line of Service materially adversely affected without incurring an Early Termination Fee only if: (a) call us within 30 days after the effective date of the change; (b) you specifically advise us that you wish to cancel Services because of a material change to the Agreement that we have made; and (c) we fail to negate the change after you notify us of your objection to it.
So what changed?
Some language under “General Terms and Conditions.” While the changes aren’t poignant or structurally significant, they do represent a change in the terms of service. Any time a company changes something as simple as the language in your contract or ToS, you have the option to get out.
It also seems the change to LTE from WiMax has caused some language to be changed:
New Agreements on the Sprint 4G (WiMAX) Network: Your Service on a device activated on the Sprint 4G (WiMAX) Network may require a new one or two-year Agreement per line. Sprint expressly reserves the right to migrate your Service during this Agreement term from the Sprint 4G (WiMAX) Network to the Sprint 4G LTE network to complete your Agreement term. Reasonable advance notice of the Service change will be provided to impacted customers, who can then select one of the followingoptions: (a) Choose to complete the Agreement term using your existing device without 4G (WiMAX) capability (b) Elect to complete the Agreement term by contacting us after receiving notice from Sprint to transition to the Sprint 4G LTE networkwith no additional term commitment required (Transition Option)(c) Deactivate service. Deactivations because of this Service change will not result in an Early Termination Fee (ETF).
The bottom line
You may not have the best experience with Sprint, and this is your opportunity to get out of the contract. Sprint does not determine what material change is: that’s a legal term. Any and all changes to a contract represent material change, and you have the right to terminate the contract free of charge when any carrier makes changes.
I have no regrets about saving $77/month with prepaid service compared to my Sprint “everything” plan.
Speaking personally, I left Sprint when the Nexus 4 came available. I have no regrets about saving $77/month with prepaid service compared to my Sprint “everything” plan. We’ve already covered how to get one of the best plans available for T-Mobile prepaid, so please consider this another step in your evolution toward contract-free living!
If you’re ready to get out of your Sprint contract, be sure to do so by July 31. It may also be a good idea to not pay any monthly service bill until you have come to an understanding with Sprint about your desire to end the contract. Be sure to cover your bases, also: my experiences with Sprint often led to undocumented conversations on their end, so get something in writing (email should be fine) from customer service that officially states your desire to end the contract. This also doesn’t mean you need to leave Sprint immediately, as the termination of a contract will just put you on a month-to-month plan as though your contract had naturally expired.
If you’re interested in cancellation, dial *6 from your Sprint phone to speak to customer service, or call (888) 211-4727. To send a letter certified mail regarding your desire to end the contract (recommended by some lawyers), mail to:
Customer Service Department
6200 Sprint Parkway
Overland Park, KS 66251
Some in the Sprint Community are reporting difficulty in getting Sprint to let them out. It’s those who stick to their guns and fight hard that win, so be diligent and unwavering in your desire to leave.