CANCEL your AT&T Contract without ETF (YMMV)

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I received a letter from AT&T last week indicating a revision to my contract. The header say "NOTICE OF REVISED ARBITRATION CLAUSE"

As per this mail, AT&T is informing you that it has changed its contract, in case of a complaint with AT&T customer services, you (the consumer) waive your right to trial by jury or to participation in a class action and the only option available is Arbitration.

I was offended by it and called customer service informing them that I do not agree to this revision to my existing contract and they cancelled my contract without any ETF.

Now this may apply to only those who have recvd this mail from AT&T. My guess is that those who have recently signed up with AT&T would already have this clause in their contracts.

I have also attached the mail for reference.

So let the games start.

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Also, there's another new ETF out. AT&T just changed their Acceptable Use Policy portion of the TOS. The changes add ter... (more)

asuka (May. 03, 2009 @ 4:22p) |

Looks like this has hit the news:

Link to PhoneNews

asuka (May. 04, 2009 @ 2:30a) |

I called twice. Each time they first deny there is any change. After I asked what REVISED means, they agree there is cha... (more)

tangerine (May. 07, 2009 @ 7:06p) |

Update: It's hit the newswires... LINK

There are two ETF Out cases against AT&T right now. AT&T is refusing to honor either in most cases. You have to fight, escalate, and (probably) file BBB and FCC complaints.

It's really unfortunate that AT&T refuses to honor the Material Change term of their customer code, which clearly states that if there is any material change in the Terms and Conditions, that you can cancel service without paying the ETF.

Here are the two cases in a nutshell.

ETF Out 1: Arbitration Clause

Long story short, AT&T enhanced their terms which now removes any chance (in their opinion) of you suing AT&T. You now must go to arbitration, and if you lose arbitration... pay AT&T's arbitration costs (which I assure you will be exponentially higher than yours, they'll make sure of that).

This is a material change, because the Arbitration Clause previously mandated some vague channel of arbitration. Now you have to arbitrate the matter on AT&T's terms. Uh, no thanks.

EFT Out 2: Acceptable Use Policy Change

AT&T has also added anti-webcasting terms to their AUP (inside the Terms and Conditions). Basically, AT&T woke up late last month and decided that you shouldn't be able to broadcast yourself onto the web for any prolonged period using your phone.

This is against the FCC mandates of Net Neutrality that was issued in the Comcast/BitTorrent ruling. So, it probably isn't even legal for AT&T to add this to the terms. But, that's for the FCC to decide.

Regardless, it's also a material change. And, a change that other carriers (like Sprint) say they have no plans to ever add against a customer. Vote with your wallets people.
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OP, how long did you have left on your contract?

I signed up for a two year contract on Dec. of 2008 and got this letter with my bill. Has anyone else had success with canceling without ETF and over a year left on the contract term?

I have 10 months left. I dont think it really matters how long you have left. The language of this letter is actually imposing this revision on the consumer so you have every right not to agree and get out.

Did it come with your bill, or as a separate letter? I already threw my bill away, if it came with the bill. I would like to kill my contract if possible.

badrobot said: Did it come with your bill, or as a separate letter? I already threw my bill away, if it came with the bill. I would like to kill my contract if possible.

+1 Were looking to go to Verizon but I'm the only one under contract as I bought a new phone February '08.

badrobot said: Did it come with your bill, or as a separate letter? I already threw my bill away, if it came with the bill. I would like to kill my contract if possible.

So log into ATT MyWireless and check your last bill. They should have the last two years history up there.

It came as a separate letter. One thing to note is that in the past, when such revisions used to come out Cingular always refused to release you from the contract if you had PAID your monthly bill. According to them, payment of the bill is an implicit acceptance of the revision(s). In this case I got it separately and it might be different.

Just call customer service and tell them that you DO NOT agree to the revision. Plain and Simple. They may try to BS you but I am sure that they are on thin ground on this one.

Great for iPhone. Sucks if you have to port your number because they will always screw up and EFT you.

fboyfboy said: Great for iPhone. Sucks if you have to port your number because they will always screw up and EFT you.

True. We're all getting "EFT" by AT&T.

fboyfboy said: Great for iPhone. Sucks if you have to port your number because they will always screw up and EFT you.

I'm in a contract till August 2009. I want to cancel it and go with Sprint, but would also want to port my numbers (2 lines). So you're saying it is not possible to cancel without ETF and port numbers?

Haha! Just cancelled 3 weeks ago and paid the $175 because I had the iPhone contract until August. Thanks for the info, wish it were a little earlier, but good call on posting it. I hope this works for someone, good luck!

roadwarrior313 said: fboyfboy said: Great for iPhone. Sucks if you have to port your number because they will always screw up and EFT you.

I'm in a contract till August 2009. I want to cancel it and go with Sprint, but would also want to port my numbers (2 lines). So you're saying it is not possible to cancel without ETF and port numbers?


Yes you can cancel. They will put a note on your account that you will be cancelling (without ETF) within that time (a week or two). Typically number porting takes 24 hours or less.

Wait--I got an iPhone 7 months ago and am pretty happy with it and with ATT. There is no reason for me to do this, right?

I'm assuming this change in terms applies to everyone with AT&T, but the OP says he got a letter last week, and I haven't gotten one yet....Anyone else still letter less?

mitch94mac said: I'm assuming this change in terms applies to everyone with AT&T, but the OP says he got a letter last week, and I haven't gotten one yet....Anyone else still letter less?

I never got one either.

So basically AT&T can never be sued for millions? Ever?

O, I would love to do this... damn, I am out of contract now though

JaneiR36 said: So basically AT&T can never be sued for millions? Ever?Not true. There is no restriction on possible judgements against AT&T, but if you agree to the new contract those judgements will be via binding arbitration instead of a long, drawn-out trial.

jayK said: JaneiR36 said: So basically AT&T can never be sued for millions? Ever?Not true. There is no restriction on possible judgements against AT&T, but if you agree to the new contract those judgements will be via binding arbitration instead of a long, drawn-out trial.

Arbitration can still be long and drawn-out, but it's easier and usually (but not always) cheaper than trial because the procedures are a lot less formal. E.g. you usually just email pleadings to the arbitrator and opposing party, rather than having to send a courier to file the document in court and FedEx the docs to the other side. Also a lot of hearings are conducted over the phone rather than via in person hearings, which saves attorneys' travel time (we bill for that, too, you know!).
*** Nothing within this post should be mistaken for legal advice, consult your own attorney, etc. ***

I did receive my letter with my last bill which came within the last week or so. I'm wondering if there would be anyway to call, complain, and say that you are so upset that you want to cancel, but that you want to be put on a month-to-month plan until you figure out other plans (with or without the arb clause). If that would work, it would be a great way to get off contract, but stay with AT&T if you don't have any reason to leave.

Received my notice today with the bill. This is great for me because I was recently "forced" to upgrade when they somehow disabled my voicemail (If I did not answer, nobody could leave a message), then they "fixed" that by somehow routing all calls to my voicemail so that my phone no longer rang. I was told it was because I had old hardware and they had network upgrades and it was no longer compatible. So after ordering a new phone (at least I got a discount) and having to agree to a new 2 year agreement, it was somehow miraculously fixed itself but since I already had the new phone I just went with it and activated.

There is something to be said about a company that makes it so difficult to fix any problem, that now when I encounter one I no longer call in because it always seems to take at least an hour of my time.

Wow, I guess I have a lot of pent up rage against AT&T over my recent dealings with them. Hopefully this releases me from my contract without ETF.

They turned me down saying that there is a clause in the contract that allows them to change the contract. I can't even say that with a straight face, but its what they said. Help!

Got mine canceled. Worked like a charm. Took 5 calls but it did finally work. Only had ATT for 3 months with 5 phones all canceled with no ETF.

Treasury said: They turned me down saying that there is a clause in the contract that allows them to change the contract. I can't even say that with a straight face, but its what they said. Help!

That is the biggest BS I have heard. AFAIK, in order to change a contract between two parties, the change has to be agreed upon by BOTH parties involved. If one of them disagrees, the change cannot be made to that contract. They are playing with you

Section #7 of the CTIA policy on the AT&T website clearly reads...........

"Provide customers the right to terminate service for changes to contract terms.
Carriers will not modify the material terms of their subscribers' contracts in a manner that is materially adverse to subscribers without providing a reasonable advance notice of a proposed modification and allowing subscribers a time period of not less than 14 days to cancel their contracts with no early termination fee."

Check this link at ATT CTIA Policy http://www.wireless.att.com/learn/articles-resources/consumer-code.jsp

Call them back and walk them though their own policy. Take the name/number of the person you talk to. They are deliberately misleading since there is not much they can do about this.

Sorry Dupe post

which number should i call? 611? Thanks

I received my electronic bill today, and has the following statement:

NOTICE OF REVISED ARBITRATION CLAUSE IN CONTRACT
We wish to inform you that, effective immediately, AT&T
has revised the arbitration clause in your Wireless Service
Agreement. For more information, please
visit http:/www.att.com/disputeresolution

May be I will give a call to check..

If we either don't want to lose our number, or just want to go on a month-to-month plan, can they just cancel the contract without canceling your account?

AFAIK arbitration is always a bad deal for the consumer. For all non-frivolous claims up to $75,000, ATT pays the arbitrator...so if Mr. Honest Arb rules for you, he just cut off the opportunity to serve as arb for any future cases against them.

A google search for att arbitration brings up a variety of information about ATTs attempt last year to impose this on consumers, and the court's ruling against them.

In my case, my ATT account is 3G data-only for an Acer Aspire One netbook that I bought at Radio Shack in December. I don't know of any better plan than ATTs, so it looks like I'll have to accept the arbitration.

Question:

If you cancel your contract, do they cancel your service as well. Can you keep the AT&T service on month-to-month basis after you cancel your contract????

wethead said: If we either don't want to lose our number, or just want to go on a month-to-month plan, can they just cancel the contract without canceling your account?
You may have a tough time saying you do not agree with the contract and then say I'd like to go month to month with you guys though. But you can give it a shot. If you cancel, they will say "do you want this effective today", and just tell them you'd like it effective on xx/xx/xxxx. Give them a date maybe 1-2 weeks, enough time for you to get a new contract. I did this, and they said ok, we're noting in the account of the cancellation effective xx/xx/xxxx. I asked if I get a contract sooner, can I cancel earlier or change the date of cancellation later? They said "yes, just call right in to change it". I would recommend after your call that you also call in a little later to verify the cancellation is noted in the account.

For canceling your contract please use the following steps form the Consumerist. It may take a few calls but it works like a charm. And remember! Stick to your guns. Do not let them tell you to put your cancellation request in writing, tell them you signed up for a contract via oral agreement and you want to do the same for cancellation.
Also, a warning, I got a couple times someone told me to open arbitration go to www.att.com/disputeresolution and download the forms and mail them in. Explain to them you do NOT want to go into arbitration with ATT, but rather you're policy has been changed and you'd like to cancel it.
Consumerist ATT cancellation

Treasury said: They turned me down saying that there is a clause in the contract that allows them to change the contract. I can't even say that with a straight face, but its what they said. Help!

Thanks for your help sbihue, I forgot to mention that a manager promised to call me back in a week. My contract is ending this summer and I actually don't want to leave ATT, but they definitely lost my trust and ruined our perfect business relationship, how dumb of them...

Treasury said: Treasury said: They turned me down saying that there is a clause in the contract that allows them to change the contract. I can't even say that with a straight face, but its what they said. Help!

Thanks for your help sbihue, I forgot to mention that a manager promised to call me back in a week. My contract is ending this summer and I actually don't want to leave ATT, but they definitely lost my trust and ruined our perfect business relationship, how dumb of them...


On principal though, AT&T is pulling a fast one on you on this one. If the CSR you talk to feigns ignoranceor acts dumb, ask to speak with his/her supervisor and read them their own policy. I bet they would understand that you do mean to leave and will oblige. Be persisitent and dont take NO for an answer.

One of my neighbors canceled his contract with two additional lines on family plan (total 3), y'day. I was with him while he made the call and it took almost ten minutes to get him released by ATT&T within the next two weeks.

I guess if you are happy with your ATT service then there is no reason to leave. Summer is just a couple of months away and you would go to a monthly cycle after that and renew or choose another provider. Next version of Apple iPhone will be out by then as well

turned down. Said that Arbitration clause is part of the original contrant. They only revised the wording which more beneficial to customer than AT&T.

sorry, wrong thread

I had the same problem as patel99. I called..first call (cancellation)...rep said that arbitration clause was part of the original contract. They said that it is more beneficial to the customer than AT&T. Tried a supervisor, no go. Supervisor asked if he helped me. I said no and hung up.

Second call (customer service). Told CS that they materially changed my contract. They said that I didn't. Pretty much same spiel as the first call. Will try again tomorrow. If I can save $175, it's worth it!!

got mine cancelled! not too hard! first call!

Hi Kamic. Did you go through cancellations or just regular Customer Service? Thanks.

Working on it right now. Been on the phone with the &^)(*)(*( AT&T Rep which states that the arbitration clause isn't a part of the contract. On hold (after 35 min of arguing with the rep) for a manager. I'll keep my fingers crossed.

normal customer service i think?

Skipping 5 Messages...
I called twice. Each time they first deny there is any change. After I asked what REVISED means, they agree there is change to the contract but kept saying this change is beneficial to the customer. I don't see how this could be any beneficial to me. The second time a lady told me she needs to transfer me to someone who would help me to cancel and need me to hold one minute, I agreed and then my call was hung up after two minutes. This is how at&t treats its customer! At&t simply trains their customer service to lie! I already filed FCC and BBB complaints to see if that will help.



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