Freedom to Switch

FCC hopes new cell phonerules benefit customers

make sure you really understand the terms and conditions that apply.

Know when you can get out of your contract. It’s nearly impossible to get out of these binding contracts, but Michael Shames, of the Utility Consumer’s Action Network, has seen some success. Some consumers who have filed lawsuits against carriers that have added LNP charges to their bill have been able to cancel their service without a termination fee. “If they add a fee or make any change to the terms of your contract in any way without your agreement, the carrier has breached the contract,” says Shames. Keep in mind that it often takes pursuing a court date to prove your case.

Do not cancel existing service. After you choose a new carrier, it will handle the details of the transfer and start the process of porting by contacting your current carrier. “If you terminate your existing service on your own, you will lose your number,” warns Muleta. Also, forward a copy of a recent phone bill to the new carrier so that the account information will appear exactly as it does in the current carrier’s records.

Be prepared. During the transition, you will be able to send and receive calls while your number is being transferred, however, certain features may not work. For example, during this period, 911 may not be able to detect the location or the phone number from which you are calling.

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