Buyer Beware: Phone contracts

(National-NBC) October 19, 2005 - You hear it over and over, buyer beware. That's especially true when it comes to contracts, you need to really read the fine print.

Jessica Wakula chose Cingular as her wireless carrier back in November of 2004. The Cingular Wireless authorized dealer activated a phone she already owned, "I signed the contract and that said that I was turning on a cell phone."

In May, she decided to cancel her service and called Cingular directly. Jessica expected a cancellation fee.

"The shutoff fee was based on how many days were left in the contract. It would be $143.00 so I decided to cut my losses and pay it," Jessica explained. Which is why a $300 credit card charge paid to Corporate Telecom surprised her.

Corporate Telecom is the store where Jessica had activated her service, "As far as I was concerned, I had already paid the fee to Cingular and my phone was turned off and I was finished."

When she called to dispute the $300 charge, they told her the fee was their charge for shutting off service four days too early.

"I would have certainly left my phone on for four more days to save myself all this aggravation and $300."

Some haggling ensued, all the while leaving Jessica confused over how two entities could charge her for canceling one service. Jessica found out the difference between buying straight from a company store and a phone dealer, each has their own requirements and rules with additional fees.

Make sure all activation and cancellation charges are spelled out in the contract before you leave the store.

Posted 2:08pm by Bryce Mursch