Cell Phone Contracts Under the SCRA

Service members who receive deployment or change of station orders may need to take care some matters to prepare for their move. Learn how service members may be able to get out of cell phone contract through a law that protects the need for flexibility while in active duty.     

How can I get out of my cell phone contract?  

Service members and their loved ones may end their cell phone contracts under the Servicemembers Contract Relief Act (SCRA). This may be possible if they have received orders to relocate to a new area for 90 days or more, and the phone’s service provider does not support coverage in the new region.  

Will I have to pay a termination fee? 

SCRA does not allow cell phone companies to charge a termination fee. They are also not allowed to charge a reactivation fee for cases where the service member reactive their account within 90 days starting on the last day of relocation.  

Service members may still have to pay for any unpaid fees or taxes they were responsible for before the termination of the contract. 

How do I know if my cell phone contract is eligible for protection? 

To be eligible for early termination of a cell phone contract

  1. The cell phone contract was signed before the service member's relocation, 
  2. Permanent Change of Station (PCS) orders were given, or the service member is being deployed outside to the continental United States for more than 90 days, and  
  3. The deployment location is not covered in the existing cell phone contract.  

How do I terminate my cell phone contract? 

After receiving the orders for the deployment, the service member should contact their cell phone provider to make them aware of their relocation. The service member or dependent should provide a letter either electronically or handwritten to their cell phone provider.  

This letter should notify the company of the termination of the contract and present documents that demonstrate the relocation orders.  

Cell phone service contract termination example. 

Can my loved ones also terminate their contract? 

Yes, but only if they are relocating with the service member.  

Can I keep my cell phone number? 

Service members and their dependents may keep their cell phone numbers if their deployment relocation is less than three years and they resubscribe to the same cell phone provider within 90 days.  

The cell phone provider should not charge the service member for a reactivation fee if the service member re-subscribes within the 30-day period.  

Service members who receive deployment or change of station orders may not have cell phone , internet, or cable service in their new area after their move . Learn how service members may be able to end certain contract s through a law that protects the need for flexibility while in active duty. I am being deployed. Can I cancel my cell phone, internet, and cable or do I have to keep paying for them? Section 3956 of t he  Servicemembers C ivil  Relief Act  (SCRA)  allows  active duty  service members  to  end their cell phone , internet,  and cable  contract s  early . The SCRA  offers  protections  to  active duty  and inactive-duty training  members of the Armed Forces, Reserves, National Guard,  and other uniformed service positions .  For those that qualify,  family members  may also be able to  break their contracts. Will I have to pay a termination fee to end my contract early? No , under the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act  (SCRA)  a termination fee cannot be charged ( 50 US C  §  3956 (e)(1) ) . Service members may still have to pay any unpaid fees or taxes they were responsible for before ending their contract. How do I know if my contract is covered by the SCRA? The Servicemembers Civil Relief Act gives active duty service members and their dependents the ability to cancel a contract without penalty when:   The contract is for cell phone, internet, telephone (landline), or multichannel video programming (cable) services,   The contract was signed before the service member's orders were given,   Permanent Change of Station (PCS) orders were given OR the service member is being deployed outside to the continental United States for more than 90 days, AND    Their new location is not covered by the company’s service area.    How do I end my contract? For service members that need to get out of a contract because of relocation orders:   Contact the company that is providing the service   Ask for an address or email address of where the termination documents should be sent   Write a signed electronic or handwritten letter that states:   That the request is being made per 50 U.S.C. § 3956 of the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act   Date of termination   That the relocation is for at least 90 days   Name(s) on the account   Account number   If the cell phone or landline number should be kept or if it can be released to someone else   Send a copy of the signed letter with a copy of the PCS orders Sending the documents electronically with a read receipt or via registered mail allows a person to verify the documents were received by the service provider. Return the provider’s equipment within 10 days of service being disconnected   Cell phone service contract termination letter example   Can my loved ones also cancel their contract under the SCRA? It depends. A spouse or dependent may end their contract when: They are on the same contract with the service member (Example: a “family plan”),   They are relocating with the service member,   The service member received a catastrophic injury or illness while on-duty, or   The service member or reservist dies while on-duty.   I paid in advance. Do I get my money back for the months I am cancelling service? Yes. Section 3956 (f) of the Servicemember s Civil Relief Act, requires that the service provider return any prepaid fees within 60 days of the termination date. Payments are not prorated; i f the termination date takes place midmonth, the service member is still responsible for paying for the entire month .   Can I keep my phone number? Yes. Service members and their dependents may either transfer their phone number to a new provider or ask their current provider to keep, or retain, their phone number. Phone numbers can be retained for a maximum of 3 years. The service member has 90 days after returning from active duty to re-subscribe and claim their phone number.    Can I turn my services back on if my orders change? Yes, a ser vice member may re-subscribe during the 90-day period without having to pay an activation fee. They may have to pay installation or equipment fees. 50 U.S. C. § 3956(e)(2)  

This website has been prepared for general information purposes only. The information on this website is not legal advice. Legal advice is dependent upon the specific circumstances of each situation. Also, the law may vary from state-to-state or county-to-county, so that some information in this website may not be correct for your situation. Finally, the information contained on this website is not guaranteed to be up to date. Therefore, the information contained in this website cannot replace the advice of competent legal counsel licensed in your jurisdiction.

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