Are you an active-duty member of the U.S. military paying for wireless telephone service under a long-term plan that you're unable to use because of a transfer or an overseas deployment?
Relief options for those serving on active duty - including reservists called to active-duty status - are available through the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act.
How do I qualify?
Active duty military members who signed long-term wireless telephone service contracts before receiving orders can, under the SCRA, suspend or cancel their contracts without penalties or extra fees if the change of duty affects the ability to use the service or otherwise satisfy the terms of the contract.
This applies under the following circumstances:
- When deployed for 90 days or longer outside of the continental United States, or
- When permanently transferred to a new duty station in the United States
For example, if your wireless telephone service provider does not serve your new duty station’s location, you would be allowed to cancel the service -- provided you signed the contract before receiving the new orders.
Additionally, service members deployed overseas for more than 90 days may suspend their contracts at no charge until the end of their deployment. In doing so, they would not be required to extend the length of the original contract term or pay a reactivation fee.
Where can I find legal help?
If you have questions about whether the SCRA applies to you, contact your local Armed Forces Legal Assistance Program office. You can use the office locator (http://legalassistance.law.af.mil/content/locator.php) to find the nearest location and contact information for each branch of the armed forces. Dependents of service members may also contact or visit military legal assistance offices for assistance.
Other SCRA protections
The SCRA is a federal law that provides protections for military members as they enter active duty. In addition to wireless telephone service, the SCRA covers issues such as rental agreements, security deposits, prepaid rent, eviction, installment contracts, credit card interest rates, mortgage interest rates, mortgage foreclosure, civil judicial proceedings, automobile leases, life insurance, health insurance, and income tax payments.
For more information about the SCRA, visit the Department of Justice’s SCRA web page at www.justice.gov/crt/spec_topics/military/scra.php. For more information about other service members’ rights, visit www.servicemembers.gov.
- International Roaming: Using Your Mobile Phone in Other Countries
- Surcharges for International Calls to Wireless Phones
- Understanding Your Telephone Bill