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5 Excellent Reasons to Read the All the Terms Before Signing a Mobile Contract

By Edited Mar 17, 2016 0 0

Because signing a mobile phone contract is so normal nowadays, most people don't think about reading the contract before they sign. Once you've gone through all the hassle of deciding on a mobile service operator and a calling plan, the last thing you want to do is to sit in the shop and read a densely worded contract before putting your name to it. The vast majority of people signing contract phone deals simply want to sign and walk out of the door with their new phone in hand and a promise of monthly payment. However, there are important clauses in that contract that you're signing, and information that you really should know about. Here's why it's important that you read before signing, and what you should be on the lookout for. Be warned that many contracts nowadays simply refer you to the terms and conditions page on the mobile operator's web site, so it's worth reading that page before you go to the retail store to sign up.

Early Termination Clauses for Contract Phone Deals...

Like it or not a contract is a binding deal. Signing up with a mobile operator generally means being stuck with that deal for around twenty four months. Two years is a long time, though there are companies that offer shorter twelve or eighteen month contracts. You will be expected to keep making payments for the entirety of the contract length. Should you wish to cancel the contract, because you've found a better deal elsewhere, because you can no longer afford the payments, or because the calling plan no longer meets your needs, you are going to be expected to pay for this; most mobile phone operators work out these fees by charging a set amount per month remaining in the contract. So, if you cancel a two year contract after only eighteen months, you'll have to pay a set fee for each of the six months left in your contract. These charges add up fast, and you should make sure you know what you're getting into and be sure that you're signing the right deal for you.

Equipment Penalties...

In addition to the above, many contract phone deals will also charge you fees for equipment should you cancel your contract early. That free phone that you got at the beginning of the contract isn't technically yours until the contract is finished. This means that the operator can require you to pay part of the cost of the phone, depending on how long there is left to go on your contract. You should be aware of these costs before you sign up for something that has free equipment included in the deal. Also, be aware of the fact that even with a free phone your plan includes an extra added payment per month for the price of the hand set. If you lose or break your phone you will continue paying that fee for the duration of your contract.

Emergency Procedures...

Also included in the terms and conditions of a mobile phone contract will be what to do in case of emergencies. Having your phone stolen is bad enough, since you're going to have to pay for a new hand set. But things get even worse if the thief decides to make calls, send messages or use data on your account. Most mobile companies will have a limit to how much you can be charged for this happening, usually requiring you to pay a small amount of the fee whilst the company covers the rest. However, there are usually restrictions. Some companies will require that you show them a police report proving that you reported the phone as stolen before they'll waive any fees that someone else racked up on your device. In the event that you didn't report the phone stolen then you will be held responsible for all payments. Other companies will require you to call the company's customer service line to report a stolen phone. You should know what these procedures are just in case you need them. Having to pay for a new phone is bad, but having to pay a few hundred pounds because the thief made overseas calls on your phone is even worse.

The Exact Fees You Will Pay...

Whilst you might be paying a set monthly fee, there are actually specific fees associated with your calling plan. Calling minutes cost a set amount per minute within the limit of your plan and more once you've gone over your limit. The same for text messages and data allowance. There are two reasons that you want to pay attention to these numbers. The first reason is that OFCOM has recently forbidden mobile companies to change rates in the middle of a contract. You should know what your rates are so you can know if they've been changed. The other reason is that you should know how much you will pay if you go over the limit of your contract. If your contract comes with a hundred calling minutes, for example, those minutes are usually pretty low priced. However, should you use more than a hundred minutes in a month, each extra minute that you use is going to be charged at a different rate. This extra rate is generally a lot higher than the contract rate that you pay. These charges can add up dramatically. And the same is true of data and text messages. Know what your limits are and know how much it's going to cost you if you go over them. It will help you to avoid unpleasant surprises in your monthly bill later down the road.

The End Date...

Finally, pay close attention to the end date of your contract. Mobile contracts tend not to end automatically when the contract is over. You will keep your service and your monthly payment as usual, even though the contract is no longer valid. This is convenient for some people. But if you need a different plan or want to switch providers you'll want to know exactly when your contract will finish. Plus, you'll probably get a better deal with better prices by signing a new contract than you will by simply letting your old contract roll over month by month.



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