Tips To Avoid Getting Locked Into Service Contracts

13 12 2012

These days, the majority of people have a mobile phone and would probably find themselves lost without a device that allows them to text, read emails on the go, browse the internet and instantly get in touch with the contacts in their phone book.

The major networks in the UK include Vodafone, Three, O2 and the newly formed Everything Everywhere, which is a merger between T Mobile and Orange. Unfortunately, it is a well-known fact that as well as providing people with everything they need to communicate using their handset, these companies are not without their faults. Networks go down, contracts are somtimes incorrect and customer service is not always as good as it should be.

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Image via Duncan~ from Flickr creative commons

One of the problems people often run into is that there is confusion regarding their contract and they find themselves locked into something they did not mean to sign up for. This can mean they are paying more than they originally wanted to, or struggle to get out of a long-term contract when they only wanted to sign up for a shorter length of time. What is more, it could mean you are stuck paying for services you find you don’t really need. The only way to get out of these situations is usually to pay early termination fees.

Luckily, there are some ways of avoiding these situations.

For a start, take great care when you are buying a new phone. Attractive offers and seemingly unmissable deals with super-cheap monthly payments will often mean you have to keep the same phone for around two years. Modern smartphones are very technologically advanced pieces of equipment and you will be surprised at how easily they can start to go wrong if they are not looked after. Two years is a long time to look after a smartphone, so consider getting shorter 12 month phone contracts and paying a bit more instead of being blinded by the deals and sale talk.

Another way to avoid getting locked into something you no longer want is to check your contract against your charges and how much you are paying each month. If something has changed this gives you a legitimate way to cancel the contract without paying fees. However, you will have to be prepared to get in touch with your network provider and argue your point. What is more, the changes will be minimal, so you have to really scrutinise both your bill and your contract.

Of course, one of the easiest ways to avoid a long term contract is to purchase a pay as you go phone. This is when you top up your phone when you run out of credit instead of paying a fixed monthly fee. What is more, because you own the phone outright you are not locked into a contract and can change it whenever you want. The problem with this is you will be charged full price for the handset  – and they are expensive. But it means you’re not tied down to anything and you’ll probably find the one-off payment is cheaper than what you would pay overall during the course of your contract.

Unfortunately, expensive phone contracts are part of life and as mobile phones get even more advanced, prices will go up. But if you don’t want to waste money and like to change you phone on a more frequent basis, these are some options.

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