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Thread: What happens to the phone if you terminate the contract early?

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    Question What happens to the phone if you terminate the contract early?

    What happens if you are 6 months into a 2-year contract and for whatever reason (financial, medical, etc) you are forced to terminate the contract and pay the ETF?. Who gets the phone?. Me?. AT&T?. Does it become a useless brick or can it still be used with another provider?. Do I really even own this phone or am I basically just renting it for two years and then giving it back to AT&T?.

    - Confused and inquisitive newbie

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    After paying the ETF on all your lines, then you have essentially "payed-off" for your phone. It is now yours to keep.

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    Phone is yours, no need to return it. You just get billed the the ETF.
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    The phone is yours to keep. The ETF covers the portion of the subsidy you haven't repaid yet. The phone can be used on another carrier if it has been unlocked.

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    If you terminate early and pay the ETF does AT&T provide you with the unlock code so you can go with another carrier?. I'm guessing they probably would since it would be as if you had purchased the phone at full price w/o a contract to begin with...yes?.

    What if I had bought the phone outright at full price and then later signed up with AT&T...would I still be forced to take a 2-year contract?. What if I wanted to use this phone on a prepaid plan?.

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    Quote Originally Posted by stevenwhite45
    If you terminate early and pay the ETF does AT&T provide you with the unlock code so you can go with another carrier?. I'm guessing they probably would since it would be as if you had purchased the phone at full price w/o a contract to begin with...yes?.
    I'm not sure if they will service you after you terminated, but just get the unlock code first, then terminate.
    What if I had bought the phone outright at full price and then later signed up with AT&T...would I still be forced to take a 2-year contract?. What if I wanted to use this phone on a prepaid plan?.
    You don't need to sign a contract if you bring your own ("customer owned") equipment. Exception: iPhone 2G.

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    Thanks so much for helping a newbie with so many questions!

    So if I send a check for the balance of the cost of the phone to the store I purchased it from, cancel my 2-yr contract with AT&T (I still have 28 days), I could basically stay with AT&T but on a non-contractual basis since I'm bringing my own phone?.

    Also, how do I get an unlock code for this phone?. Does AT&T provide you with it only after they have serviced you for a period of time?.

    Once again, many thanks.

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    Quote Originally Posted by stevenwhite45

    So if I send a check for the balance of the cost of the phone to the store I purchased it from, cancel my 2-yr contract with AT&T (I still have 28 days), I could basically stay with AT&T but on a non-contractual basis since I'm bringing my own phone?.
    If you aren't leaving At&t there is no need to cancel your contract. There is an option to buy the phone (except an iPhone) without a contract at a higher price and without worrying about paying an ETF.

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    Quote Originally Posted by stevenwhite45
    So if I send a check for the balance of the cost of the phone to the store I purchased it from, cancel my 2-yr contract with AT&T (I still have 28 days), I could basically stay with AT&T but on a non-contractual basis since I'm bringing my own phone?.

    Also, how do I get an unlock code for this phone?. Does AT&T provide you with it only after they have serviced you for a period of time?.

    Once again, many thanks.
    Number one, you never send a check "to the store you purchased it from." You will send a check to corporate AT&T somewhere. This is important because your contract is with AT&T not the store (whether a corporate AT&T store or an authorized dealer.)

    #2. Why are you trying to break out of contract when you are going to stay and are going to use the phone? The only reason I'd see to break out of contract is when you actually want to leave and the only reason I'd pay a premium is if I wanted to get a new phone before they would sell me a subsidised one.

    So, if I read you correctly, don't worry about breaking out of your contract until you have a true need to. There is nothing wrong with being under contract if you are happy with the service, right? If you end up not leaving for 2 years, that's $200 you never had to spend.
    haritia

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    Thanks. Is there a page on AT&T's site you can direct me to that has information on this option?. I might be interested in this at some point.

    - Steve

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    What option are you talking about?

    I'm so glad i'm out of contract and only use non-att, unlocked phones. Makes it easier
    Current Device: Nexus One
    Phone History: |N97 Mini| |5800| |E71-2| |N95-4| |N95-3| |N75| |6131| |6230| |SE T616|


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    Quote Originally Posted by stevenwhite45
    Thanks. Is there a page on AT&T's site you can direct me to that has information on this option?. I might be interested in this at some point.

    - Steve
    when you look at the at&t phones on their site, the no commitment price is what you pay if you are not going to extend your contract.

    Steve, are you for real?

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    Quote Originally Posted by haritia
    when you look at the at&t phones on their site, the no commitment price is what you pay if you are not going to extend your contract.
    Which is available for existing, not new customers.

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    Quote Originally Posted by veriztd
    Which is available for existing, not new customers.
    Thus "extend"? I believe Steve is already a AT&T customer?

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    I believe you are correct, just wanted to point out the difference.

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