Getting out of a mobile phone contract

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joannie10 | 11:25 Fri 03rd Mar 2006 | Business & Finance
24 Answers

My friend is struggling to pay her phone bill with Vodafone. She took on an 18 month contract which had half price line rental for 6 months as seemed a good deal. Now the 6 months is up she is struggling to pay the full month rental price, not only this but also the Company are offering so much better deals. She enquired with Vodafone but the person was not very understanding of her situation and only offered to give her a text 'Bolt on' costing more money as this is really all she uses the phone for but as I say even if she stops using the phone she is struggling with the monthly bill. Is there anyway she can get out of this or does anyone know of anyone being able to change to a cheaper tariff.

appreciate your help.


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She signed a contract which said that she would pay X amount a month for 18 months. It's legally binding she can't get out of it early unless she pays it in full (i.e. the remaining 12 months).

Not the answer you or her will want to hear but thats the way the world works.

Tell her to find the best deal she can with another service provider, one that she can comfortably afford. She doesn't have to sign up to it just have all the info on it.

When she has this phone up Vodafone and enquire about how to cancel her current contract. They will ask why she wants to do this. If she says it is because she has found a better deal elsewhere usually Vodafone will try to match that deal as they will rather keep her on a lower tariff then lose her custom altogether.

Tell her not to mention that she can't afford her current deal but she needs to be firm with the bit about wanting to cancel her contract.

I've done this a few times now to get the tariffs I want or to get a new phone I want, you'd be surprised what they will do to keep customers and stop them going to their competitors

ask your friend to re-read the contract. despite signing up for an 18 month contract most mobile phone contracts offer a get out clause whereby both parties may "walk away" from the contract upon giving the other party 1 month's notice.
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thanks Gevs1966 - so you have actually been able to do this whilst part of your contract is remaining?? I thought they might be more understanding that she could not afford the one she had rather than just had found a better offer. That is very helpful.
Just to pick up on somethinh that Gevs mentioned - your friend needs to speak to the customer loyalty team. I got in touch when the insurance I though I had when I lost my phone did not actually exist (my fault) - because I was a reasonably high user, they sent me a new phone free of charge.

Try asking for the tariff to something she can afford.
Failing that, there are three options.
a) If she has the premier insurance - this allws her to opt out of the contract for what ever reason (even if she decides she doesn't like the colour of the phone)
b) Look t the contract and find a 'breach' in the terms (on their part. Tell them about this, and that as a result you would like to nullify the contract.
c) 'Frustration of Contract' - prevention from continuation of the contract due to circumstances beyond the control of both parties - e.g. illness

Last option is difficult, but may be used to come to some sort of agreement. I suppose that the most ovious answer that I should also have included would be dissolvement of the contract by agreement - just ask.
Good luck,
PS do bare in mind that the contract might not be legally bidning under the Unfair Contract Terms Act 1977 and the Unfair Terms in Consumer Contracs Regulations (sorry - no dates- bit rusty!).

Just because they are a big firm does not mean that they write legally binding contracts - you would be suprised the amount that try it on, just taking a chance that they will get away with it!

Joannie10, the last time I did it I was 6 months into an 18 month contract. I found the new phone I wanted with a much better deal through Orange on the internet. I phoned vodafone and asked how to cancel my contract. They asked why I wanted to cancel so I told them I have found a better deal with a better, newer phone with another service provider. I had to explain what exactly the deal was and they started offering me alternatives. I stayed firm and refused the alternatives and said i can still get a better deal elsewhere with the new phone for free and then they started to offer me even more. In the end, they offered me 500 mins of calls to any network at any time, 1000 texts and pic messages etc, free evening and weekend calls (not included in the free minutes), half price line rental for first six months. Monthly price �40 which is much cheaper than my bills were at the time. The only thing was that I had to pay �120 for the new phone. When I moaned about that they didn't charge me for the first three months line rental to cover the cost of the phone and the six months after that were still half price.

You have to be firm and persistent, like I said before you will be surprised at exactly what they will offer you to stop you going to a competitor.

As you seem to realise joannie10 it seems that Gevs1966 is talking at cross purposes.

While erimus1 is correct that often contracts can be challenged it's unlikely that a contract directly with Vodafone would be this way.

You can of course refuse to pay but thats a road you really don't want to go down, your friends credit rating will be effected badly and that will just lead to further problems.

It all depends on what is meant by "struggling", is it struggling in the sense that she gets �1000 a month, pays �900 on rent �60 on food and the phone is �40 or is it she spends money enjoying herslef and the phone is a low priority.

Gevs1966 - can I just ask... while the �40 contract was less than you were paying for phone calls as a total bill was it less that the original contract?

WoWo, I don't see how I'm talking at crossed purposes. Please explain?

I was 6 months into an 18 month contract paying up to �130 a months, of which, the line rental was about the same as it is now but with less benefits to it. My bills are now �50-�60 including line rental and insurance.

If you read through your contract there will be some form of termination clause in there.

The point I was making is that if you are firm and find something better and more affordable elsewhere then use it against them to get what you want, its called negotiation and the terms are the original contract are largely irrelevant. I have changed tariffs mid contract previously as well.

Question Author

I really did not see how Gevs1966 was talking at cross purposes - I really feel the info that he/she has given will be of great help to my friend. I have printed it all off to pass onto her.


Joannie10, just make sure that your friend doesn't reveal the real reason. As with any form of negotiation if you show them a weakness it can be exploited.

The worst that has ever happened to me is that it took a few calls. Usually, if you do not get a satisfactory response from the first call, THEY will call you back within a couple of days to chase up on a possible upgrade or new deal. Don't forget most of these people will work on some sort of commission based scheme. If they sell you a contract, they will get benefit personally so its worth hanging in there.

Good luck to your friend.

i work for a mobile company and deal with this type of thing everyday ur mate is still in contract and says she wants to disc as shes seen a better deal then they wont try to match it as she is in contract with the deal that she has signed up to, they will only try to match competitors at the end of the term.

if she is struggling to pay then they maybe able to set up a payment plan for her she would need to speak with a credit control team to get this sorted

Hi there

I have a simular problem, I am with T-mobile on an 18 month contract, I have completed 12 months but I have seen better deals around, the one I want is actually with t-mobile, they said I cant change until September, I said I then wanted to cancel my contract and they said I could at a cost of �97

I dont want to pay this but I do want to change

Any ideas how I can cancel my contract?



All i can say is thank god im on PAYG
hi, i believe you can down grade your price plan every 30 days. try giving vodafone a ring on the free number from your mobile and say what you want your price plan to be dont let them tell you.your the customer they are the provider of a service that you very kindly pay for.
i am with orange on an 18 month contract and i would love out of it as well as i have seen better deals on o2 and i have had my samsung monte replaced once as well but as i am on benefits i cant afford the early termination fee so i will have to stick it out until march 2012 but if anyone has any ideas feel free to post
Hi I was in the same position myself where I could not get out of my contract. I found a website though that allowed me to get out of my phone contract simply by transferring ti to somebody else. It is called and I posted my phone and within a few days I had interest!

Hope this helps!!
I have a contract on Vodafone(I have never received or signed anything) I am struggling to pay as I'm unemployed now and also price is vastly different to what I was quoted on the phone
I need help! I currently have a Vodafone contract but I'm now unemployed and on long term sickness and can no longer afford phone etc.Vodafone very unhelpful have told me they want £400 to end contract.I don't know what to do.I never signed anything and I'm now desperatly worried.

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