Are you a service member who is being relocated to a location that does not support your cellular telephone contract? Is your relocation for a period of at least 90 days?
Under the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act, you may be entitled to terminate the cell phone contract provided that you entered into the contract before you received the military orders to relocate.
How do I terminate my cellular telephone contract?
A service member entitled to terminate his or her cell phone contract must provide the service provider with a written or electronic notice, a copy of his or her military orders, and the date upon which the service is to be terminated.
Delivery of the information and documents must be accomplished in accordance with industry standards, meaning you should check with your service provider to determine the best method of delivery.
What else should I know?
The cell phone service provider may not assess an early termination charge, but can assess taxes and other charges that are due and unpaid.
The provider must, within 60 days of the contract termination, refund any fees or amounts paid in advance – except for the remainder of the monthly billing period in which the termination occurs.
When an eligible service member being relocated has a contract for a family cell phone plan, the contract may be terminated for the service member and any other beneficiaries who are accompanying the service member to the place of relocation.
What if I want to keep my mobile telephone number?
If a service member's period of relocation is for three years or less and the service member re-subscribes to the cell phone service within 90 days beginning on the final day of the relocation, then the provider must allow the service member to keep his or her original cellular telephone number.
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 Armed Forces Legal Services locator 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, evictions, installment contracts, credit card interest rates, mortgage interest rates, mortgage foreclosures, 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 Servicemembers and Veterans Initiative website at www.servicemembers.gov.
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Military Service Members and Wireless Phone Service (pdf)