Should I pay my cellphone cancellation fee?
November 19, 2008 2:34 PM   Subscribe

Should I pay my cellphone cancellation fee?

I moved out of Canada. I canceled my landline, internet, etc but I needed my cell phone for a while while moving. I was slow paying the bill because I was busy, but I did indeed pay off all bills. However, because I was late they sent me a cancellation notice which I didn't protest because I needed to cancel the plan at that point anyway. Now they want $550 in cancellation fees. Since I've moved to the US, what are the ramifications of simply not paying? Let's assume I'm planning on staying 5+ years here so if and when I return to Canada any complaints on my credit record will be very old news. Can/will they take me to court? The company has not been provided any information on my new address as I get my bills by postal forwarding via my old address.
posted by GuyZero to Work & Money (7 answers total)
Did you provide them with a credit card or bank info when you signed up for the plan? Most plans here in the US require that. I've also heard that, in the US, an easy way to get out of cancellation fees is to tell the company that you are moving out of the country. If they don't provide service outside of the country, they can't penalize you for canceling the service. It may, of course, be different in Canada.
posted by The Light Fantastic at 2:43 PM on November 19, 2008

Probably not. What're they gonna do, cut you off? lol!

Oh wait, credit card. Yeah, if you gave them your credit card details you're probably boned. But it never hurts to get in touch with the service provider. I dunno how it works over there, but in Australia places like Telstra, Optus, Primus, etc etc are generally pretty understanding about stuff of that nature and provided you treat the person at the other end of the line as a fellow human being, you're still going to end up paying money, but hopefully not quite so much.

Of course, don't tell them your new address or phone number or anything like that or they will hound you, like a pack of hounds!
posted by turgid dahlia at 3:18 PM on November 19, 2008 [1 favorite]

I've not paid two different cancellation fees over the years, and neither have ever shown up on my credit report, nor have those companies (Qwest, Sprint) gone to any length beyond a letter or two to collect on it. YMMV. I always thought it was weird that Qwest still gives me home and Internet, through several moves, and has never mentioned me owing their mobile phone service $600 from 2001.
posted by M.C. Lo-Carb! at 3:25 PM on November 19, 2008

I never gave them a credit card, though -- nor have I for any subsequent utility or communication-type services.
posted by M.C. Lo-Carb! at 3:26 PM on November 19, 2008

I ditched a cell phone bill that had gone to collections when I left Canada. Four years in the US later, I have not heard a peep. Of course, the cell phone company did not have my US address, so they really had no way to find me.
posted by crazycanuck at 4:09 PM on November 19, 2008

I'm pretty sure that all bad debt has to be forgiven after seven years. I got that from working in a retail store that offered credit to customers (in Canada). So if you're away for at least five years... I would say don't pay.
posted by Brodiggitty at 7:14 PM on November 19, 2008

My housemate moved from Canada to the US three years ago, leaving behind tens of thousands of dollars in debt that her ex-husband had dumped on her. She has not received a single contact from any of those creditors.

Will she get nailed for it someday? I don't know. But she hasn't yet.
posted by shiny blue object at 6:25 AM on November 20, 2008

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