No signal? Breaking up not hard to do
UNLESS IT involves boy bands or "The Jerry Springer Show," Digital Slobs hate break-up scenes.
They're messy. They're ugly. They reveal hard truths that neither side wants to face.
But life is too short to live a lie, so sometimes you just have to bite the bullet and ... (breathe) ... cancel your cell phone contract.
There, I said it.
Still, before finding a better provider, Slobs must acknowledge our role in the demise of the relationship, or else we're destined to repeat the same mistakes. After all, nobody forced us to make a two-year commitment in the first place.
But at the time, it felt so right. We could get a smart phone for just $99 instead of $499, and all the provider wanted in exchange was our devotion. We were young. We were foolish. We were caught up in the GPS-enabled romance of of the moment -- we were shocked when they came back and said we passed their credit check.
But that was eons, months, or at least weeks ago. Perhaps we've changed, evolved, and our cell provider hasn't. Perhaps we've moved on to a different place in our life, one that better fits who we are as a person -- perhaps a place that's half the rent but behind a grain silo that blocks our signal.
Unfortunately, if we were in such a situation and wanted to go our separate ways, the aggrieved party would demand restitution for our betrayal in the form of a cancellation fee -- up to $250. Ouch. Bitter much?
Lawyers would say don't fight it. It is, after all, a founding principle of our civil laws.
Fact is, if you're impatient about upgrading to a new model, be ye Digital Slob or Donald Trump, you have to accept early termination fees are going to be part of the art of the deal.
But for a substantially smaller price, services like wirecracker.com and celltradeusa.com can quietly make that wireless ball and chain of yours just go away, no questions asked.
Though they sound like the kind of businesses Tony Soprano might hide in a file cabinet to diversify his portfolio, both pass the legit test.
For $50, wirecracker.com will pay your cell phone's early termination fee, provided you use their Web site to then switch to a new provider and buy whatever new phone package you want through them. They ship the new phone to you, and you send your old phone to them.
Calltradeusa.com only wants $19.99 in exchange for cellular freedom. But instead of acting as an agent, it connects those who want to "Get Out" of a contract with those who want to "Get In" to one. On the site are pictures of phones with caption like "Verizon, $40, 6 months," meaning you can "sub-lease" that phone for a $40 monthly fee with a half-year left on the contract. It's free to sign up as a "Get In," but $19.99 if you want to be a "Get Out."
With this service, you don't have to do a one-for-one exchange -- you could just hand over your contract, get off the grid, change your name and flee to Costa Rica, if you so desire (not that the idea ever crossed my mind).
Still, it's good to keep these escape routes in the back of your head should your cell situation suddenly turn sour.
Personally, my phone and I are in a good place now.
The counseling helps.