Cell Phone Contracts Under the SCRA

Service members who receive deployment or change of station orders may need to take care some matters to prepare for their move. Learn how service members may be able to get out of cell phone contract through a law that protects the need for flexibility while in active duty.

How can I get out of my cell phone contract?

Service members and their loved ones may end their cell phone contracts under the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA). This may be possible if they have received orders to relocate to a new area for 90 days or more, and the phone’s service provider does not support coverage in the new region.

Will I have to pay a termination fee?

No, the SCRA does not allow cell phone companies to charge a termination fee. They are also not allowed to charge a reactivation fee for cases where the service member reactive their account within 90 days starting on the last day of relocation.

Service members may still have to pay for any unpaid fees or taxes they were responsible for before the termination of the contract.

How do I know if my cell phone contract is eligible for protection?

To be eligible for early termination of a cell phone contract:

  1. The cell phone contract was signed before the service member's relocation,
  2. Permanent Change of Station (PCS) orders were given, or the service member is being deployed outside to the continental United States for more than 90 days, and
  3. The deployment location is not covered in the existing cell phone contract.

How do I terminate my cell phone contract?

After receiving the orders for the deployment, the service member should contact their cell phone provider to make them aware of their relocation. The service member or dependent should provide a letter either electronically or handwritten to their cell phone provider.

This letter should notify the company of the termination of the contract and present documents that demonstrate the relocation orders.

Cell phone service contract termination example.

Can my loved ones also terminate their contract?

Yes, but only if they are relocating with the service member.

Can I keep my cell phone number?

Service members and their dependents may keep their cell phone numbers if their deployment relocation is less than three years and they resubscribe to the same cell phone provider within 90 days.

The cell phone provider should not charge the service member for a reactivation fee if the service member re-subscribes within the 30-day period. 

This website has been prepared for general information purposes only. The information on this website is not legal advice. Legal advice is dependent upon the specific circumstances of each situation. Also, the law may vary from state-to-state or county-to-county, so that some information in this website may not be correct for your situation. Finally, the information contained on this website is not guaranteed to be up to date. Therefore, the information contained in this website cannot replace the advice of competent legal counsel licensed in your jurisdiction.

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