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US Cellular “One and Done” goes the way of the dino, requires two-year contract with new phone purchases

One of the best reasons to stick with US Cellular has been that it only requires you to sign a contract once to get subsidized pricing every 18 months. Unfortunately this will no longer be the case, come July 27th.
July 17, 2013
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If the main reason you are on US Cellular’s network is to take advantage of their “One and Done” program, then we are about to ruin your day.

US Cellular has confirmed the program is now going the way of the dinosaur. Starting July 27th, you will be required to sign a two-year contract in order to get a new device at a subsidized price.

As if this change didn’t hurt enough, US Cellular seems determined to throw some extra salt in the wound by also changing up the 15-day Excellence Guarantee. From now on, if you decide your new phone isn’t right for you, you’ll be forced into paying a $35 restocking fee.

At a time when T-Mobile is chucking the idea of contracts out the window, why in the world would US Cellular revert backwards to a more locked-down carrier approach? Your guess is as good as mine, but here’s the official PR spin:

“At US Cellular, we are continually evaluating the entire experience we offer to our customers. Beginning later this month, all customers will be required to sign a 2-year contract when purchasing a subsidized device. In addition, a restocking fee of $35 will be introduced as an update to the 15-Day Excellence Guarantee policy and will be charged when a customer returns a device during the 15-day time period. These changes will allow us to invest in improving our customer experience and offering new products and services to our customers.”

In the end, US Cellular’s policy change isn’t really any worse than what we see with Sprint, Verizon or AT&T. Then again, that’s probably what makes this change so disappointing. We thought you were better than this, US Cellular.

Any other US Cellular customers out there? What do you think of the change?