Is your military service disrupting your cell phone service? More to the point, are you paying for mobile service under a long-term plan that you are unable to use because of an overseas deployment or transfer?
What you may not realize is that relief options for men and women serving on active duty in the U.S. military (including reservists called to active duty status) are available through the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA).
Qualifying for Relief
Under SCRA Section 535a, servicemembers can suspend or cancel long-term wireless/mobile phone contracts without penalties or extra fees when deployed for 90 days or longer or when permanently transferred if change of duty results in:
- An inability to use the service
- An inability to satisfy the terms of the contract
Additionally, servicemembers deployed overseas for more than 90 days may suspend their contracts at no charge until the end of their deployment without being required to extend the length of the original contract term.
How to Proceed
To exercise these rights under SCRA, servicemembers must provide their mobile/wireless telephone service contractors with copies of their military orders. Upon receiving a request for termination or suspension of service, the telephone service contractors must comply without imposing an early termination fee or a reactivation fee for suspension of the contracts.
If you have questions about whether SCRA applies to you, the Department of Justice’s SCRA web page recommends contacting your nearest Armed Forces Legal Assistance Program office to see if the SCRA applies. (Use the military legal assistance office locator to find the nearest location and contact information for each branch of the armed forces.) Dependents of servicemembers may also contact or visit military legal assistance offices.
More About SCRA
SCRA is a federal law that provides protections for military members as they enter active duty. It 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.
FCC Consumer Guidance
- International Roaming: Using Your Mobile Phone in Other Countries
- Surcharges for International Calls to Wireless Phones
- Understanding Your Phone Bill
For More Information
For information about other communications issues, visit the FCC’s Consumer website, or contact the FCC’s Consumer Center by calling 1-888-CALL-FCC (1-888-225-5322) voice or 1-888-TELL-FCC (1-888-835-5322) TTY; faxing 1-866-418-0232; or writing to:
Federal Communications Commission
Consumer and Governmental Affairs Bureau
Consumer Inquiries and Complaints Division
445 12th Street, SW
Washington, DC 20554