Understanding Metro Early Termination Fees

Is Metro charging you a bogus Early Termination Fee? FairShake can help.

"What you should know about early termination fees"

If you are looking to switch carriers, you have probably found yourself facing an early termination fee on your final bill. Many people are shocked to find that it is hundreds of dollars from top carriers. But is this even legal? 

Why do phone companies charge early termination fees?

An early termination fee is exactly what the name implies: it is a fee that you pay for terminating a contract early or prematurely. A few years ago, it was quite common for every major service provider to include a mandatory 1-year or 2-year minimum contract. In doing so, part of the contractual agreement included the early termination fee which you were charged as the customer if you chose to close your account before the end of your contract. 

Early termination fees are usually associated with a contract so, if you are on a prepaid phone plan, you should not face an early termination fee because you are not under contract and therefore not terminating your contract prematurely. But even then, you might face some fees you were not expecting.

Are early termination fees legal?

Yes, early termination fees are legal in almost all cases so long as they are included in the contract. Unfortunately, most sales staff or the people with whom you interact at a service provider outlet don’t tell you about things like the early termination fees. It’s quite common for people to not realize they have them associated with their account because it was never explained when they signed up. 

Does Metro by T-Mobile charge an early termination fee?

Metro by T-Mobile is a prepaid wireless option which means you are typically under no contract and therefore do not have to face an early termination fee if you decide to cancel. There’s no mention of an early termination fee under the standard terms and conditions, but they also make it clear that you are tied to any other terms specifically in your personal contract. 

How do I know if my contract with Metro by T-Mobile has an early termination fee?

Make sure that you read every line in your contract as well as the terms and conditions from Metro by T-Mobile. It will generally read something like this:

If you terminate your service for any reason then mentioned in the cancellation policy, you agree to pay us with respect to each device or telephone number assigned to your account, in addition to all other owed amounts, an early termination fee in the amount specified at below. Your early termination fee will be $150 minus $4 for each full month of your service contract that you complete.”

Can I avoid or reduce my early termination fees?

There are a few ways that you can avoid or reduce your early termination fees:

  1. The easiest way is to upgrade your carrier by purchasing your phone outright so that you don’t have any long-term contract to repay the phone, and by finding an unlocked, contract free option like those offered by prepaid services including Metro by T-Mobile.
  2. The second easiest way is to negotiate ahead of time before you sign up with a new company to try and reduce or alleviate your early termination fee all together. You might be able to speak with customer service about this and then get a new contract that clearly states the terms in writing.
  3. Once you already have a contract you can again try to speak with customer service for your service provider and explain any mitigating circumstances, things outside your control and why you are canceling your service early. Your business might have closed permanently, you might be out of a job, you might have to move, any of these are good reasons why you would otherwise stick with your contract but can’t.

What if I get a contract buyout?

If you are switching to another provider you might be able to use a contract buyout which is a type of promotional deal where the wireless provider to whom you are switching service buys out the remaining contract you have, effectively paying for your early termination fees and any financing balances you have. 

These are usually only available at certain times, from certain carriers you need to be sure to read the fine print because there are financial limits. Most carriers who do this still require you to pay for your contract cancellation out of pocket and then they give you a prepaid card which you can use somewhere else. 

I’m being charged an early termination fee but I shouldn’t be, what can I do?

If you are being unfairly charged, we can help. At FairShake, we understand how stressful it can be working with big companies and their customer service departments which is why we help you stand up for your rights. 

Learn how our process works in your favor — or start now…

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