Cancelling Your Wireless Contract: What to Know Before Getting Out Early

Wireless contracts lock customers in for a set term – but your life (hopefully) doesn’t revolve around when your contract expires. Maybe you’re moving out of the country, or just want to take advantage of a competing carrier’s offer – whatever your reason, sometimes you need to break your contract before the time is officially up.

Since the CRTC’s Wireless Code came into effect in December 2013, the process to get out of your mobile contract has become more transparent, if not easier. As of June 2015, any and all cancellation fees – including any remaining device balance – will be waived for any contract that is two years old the Wireless Code, you can read about it here. In this post we will give you the low down on how to cancel your contract and how much it will cost you.

The How:

The process of cancelling your contract is fairly straightforward (at least in theory). To begin, all you have to do is call up your service provider and let them know you want to cancel and when. You may be transferred to another department that will make you an offer (special monthly plan price, reduce early upgrade fee, etc.) in order to entice you to stay – but as long as you are firm and repeat your desire to cancel, they will eventually process your request.

Note: Most phones are locked to use on one carrier’s network. If you want to be able to use your phone with another carrier, you will have to unlock your phone first. This could cost between $30 and $70 depending on you carrier. Make sure you tell the customer service representative that you want to unlock your phone before they cancel your account.

The How Much:

Buying your phone on contract is a little bit like taking out a loan to pay for the device – and each month you pay a bit of it off until it reaches zero.

If you are on a two year contract, and you got a new phone subsidized by your carrier – your only cancellation fee is to pay off the device balance. You can view this amount by logging into your account on your carrier’s website.

The device balance represents the discount that was given to you off of the price of your new phone for signing a contract.  This amount reduces by an equal amount every month, and will be $0 after 24 months. This is the same amount you would have to pay to do an early upgrade.

cancel cell phone contract canada

Bell’s Device Balance information. Similar information can be found on your account on all Carrier’s websites.

 

If you signed a contract but did not take a subsidy on a new phone, your cancellation fee is lesser of $50 or 10% of your monthly fee, multiplied by the number of months left on your contract.

What if I’m still stuck on a three-year contract?

As of June 3, 2015, all wireless contracts (including most corporate contracts, if the plan is in your name) are now covered by the CRTC’s Wireless Code.

This means that once your contract reaches the two-year mark, it can be cancelled without penalty. If you cancel before the two year mark, your cancellation fee will be equal to the remaining device balance left on your account, representing the pro-rated value of the discount you were given off your device when you signed your contract.

When in doubt, ask.

If you can’t find a copy of the contract you signed when you got your phone, it can be hard to figure out which of the various cancellation policies will apply to your account. If you contact Rogers, Bell, Telus or your other provider by phone or online chat, they can look up what your cancellation fee would be without actually cancelling your account.

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7 comments

  • Christian 17 June, 2015   Reply →

    Good day,

    I have a 3 years contract that i have signed March 2013. If i cancel but want to remain with the same cell company could it be done?

    thanks

    • Orchard 17 June, 2015   Reply →

      Hi Christian,

      If you want to stay with the same service provider, then there is really no need to cancel. If you would like to upgrade your device then you should be able to do that now with no cancellation fees, although you may have to change your monthly plan when you do. Give your service provider a call and they can walk you through the process.

      If you are cancelling for another reason, you can always sign back up with the same company later – although you may not be able to keep your phone number if you do that.

      If you have any more questions or want to go into a little more detail about you situation, you can always send us an email through our contact form and we’ll get back to you as soon as we can. https://orchard.desk.com/customer/portal/emails/new?t=510869

  • Julius 5 December, 2015   Reply →

    Hello,

    I re-upped with Rogers for 2 years in August to get a new phone, but I still had legacy discounts on my old plan that expire now (December 1), meaning I go up by $15/month. Fido is offering a bring your own phone deal, which I am interested in. What’s strange though is that the service agreement that I received from Rogers in August has the same cancellation wording that you have crossed out above, because they were supposed to be done as of June. Did I inadvertently agree to terms that should no longer be valid, or did Rogers provide me with the wrong contract? Can they hold me to those conditions of the DSRF+ADSRF? In their contract it states that this applies to contracts entered into after January 2012, but it seems that the new wireless code directly contradicts this anyway, whether it is still valid or not.

    Thanks.

  • LORI 12 April, 2016   Reply →

    I HAVE A PLAN WITH ROGERS. MY DAUGHTER IN LAW IS ON MY ACCOUNT. DO I HAVE TO PAY THE DEVICE BALANCE TO CANCEL HER OFF MY ACCOUNT. I LIVE IN CANADA

    • Rob F 8 May, 2016   Reply →

      holy Lori calm down.
      Yes. Unless you can get her moved to her own account somehow through Rogers service rep.

  • Jon 20 October, 2016   Reply →

    sign a 3 year contract with Telus this past march, what would i have to pay now

  • Susanne Anderson 2 April, 2017   Reply →

    I have been a customer of Bells for about 7 to 8 years, 6 years ago I had a contract with a turbo stick threw them. I got a 2 year contract for it and during that time realized that the turbo tick was almost useless to me, due to the fact that we live in a remote area and it barley worked. So I tried getting out of the contract but settled with them reducing my month charges as long as we didn’t use any data at all. the said that if it was used we would be charged a min of $10.00 even if it was only for 2min. with that understanding I have never used it again. I didn’t renew the contract and they knew I didn’t use the stick and didn’t want the service to continue after the contract was up. I the trust worthy person I am have never to this day questioned my ebills, I never went over the detailed statements I just paid what was the total that would show without having to download the bill. Well I had the shock of my life last month when I asked why my turbo stick still show on my my bell web page seeing we don’t use it and its not in service, the bell employee said that it is still active. I was floored. So as of November 17th 2013 they have been charging me a month to month rate that I had no Idea of. And even after this was mentioned to me last month and I demanded to speak to someone in charge I was hug up- on. And I looked today and I was charged for the last month that just went by again. I talked to someone today and had to ask her to call my landline and that was 4 hours ago

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