Tips for Negotiating an Early Termination Contract for Common Services like the Gym
Contract Termination for Services like Cell Phones and Gym Memberships
We enter into contracts with service providers all of the time. Unfortunately, there are also many times when we would like to be able to terminate the contract earlier than the duration of time that we have agreed to. The two most common types of contracts that this problem arises with are cell phone contracts and contracts for gym memberships. These memberships are often 1-3 year contracts which we decide we don’t want anymore before the contract is up. Technically you are legally bound to the contract but there are some tips that you should be aware of if you’re interested in terminating a contract before it is time.
Follow these termination contract tips when trying to end services like gym memberships and cell phone service:
• Read the contract in full. If you no longer have a copy of the signed contract, request that the service provider send a copy of your signed contract to you. You want to make sure that you read every line so that you understand exactly what it is that you have agreed to. The key things to look for are the duration of the contract, any fees associated with ending the contract early and any “loopholes” that allow you to get out of the contract early if certain conditions have (or have not) been met by either you or the other party. For example, you may be able to get out of your cell phone contract early if you are willing to pay an early termination fee. The amount of that fee should be stipulated in the contract.
• Get clear about exactly why you are interested in a termination contract solution. You want to make sure that you know exactly what you want before you try to enter into any kind of negotiation about a termination contract. Are you unhappy with the service that you have been receiving? Are there things that you’re not getting that you thought you would be getting by now? For example, is your cell phone failing to get good quality at your home and that is the reason that you want to terminate your contract? Knowing your reasons helps you determine whether you need to terminate the contract or merely ask for improvements. In the case of call quality, the solution may be resolved if you are able to get a better phone from the company which is something that you can ask for during the negotiation process. However you need to know what you want before you can negotiate.
• Find the right person to talk to about a termination contract. Only the head people at the company of the service provider will be in any real position to negotiate a fair termination contract with you. If you call your mobile phone service provider then you’ll need to ask to speak to someone who is in this position. If you go down to the gym to work out the problem then you’ll want to speak directly to the manager. General customer service employees simply don’t have the authority to work with you.
• Present your case clearly and articulate what it is that you want. Once you know what you want and have found the right person to talk to then you can explain what the problem is. Keep it short and simple and be direct about what you want. If the only thing that you want is to end the contract then you need to say that. If you’re willing to continue the contract assuming that certain conditions are met then you can say that as well. Do not get engaged in a debate about the issue. Simply state the problem, state your desired solution and see what the response is. Oftentimes the service provider will be willing to accommodate your needs to at least some degree in order to keep you on as a customer.
• Ask about transfers of service. If the service provider insists that you must continue paying through the end of your contract then ask about the possibility of transferring the service to someone else. Ask if you can transfer your phone service or your gym membership to someone else who can reap the benefits and take over payment. Sometimes service providers are amenable to this. If the answer is yes then start advertising through your social networks and asking among your friends to find someone who might be interested in taking over the contract for you.
• Request a decreased early termination fee. If you’re determined to get out of the contract early and the service provider is determined to insist that you pay a termination fee then ask about negotiating a lower fee. Cell phone companies in particular are starting to decrease fees for people who have kept their contracts for a good length of time before terminating. It doesn’t hurt to ask.
• Consider getting a lawyer. If you have actual grounds for breaking contract termination then you may want to consider getting a lawyer to assist you in dealing with the issue. There are viable grounds for contract termination if the terms set forth in the original contract have not been met or have been changed. For example, if your cell phone company has changed rates on you since the contract was signed then you may have a viable case for legally breaking the contract early. If the gym has reduced the number of classes and machines available and that was outlined in the contract then you may also have a case. Re-read your contract and see if you think that you have a case then contact a lawyer.
Ideally you will read every contract carefully before you sign it. You will use your trial periods to make sure that you like the service and cancel it within the trial period if you are not satisfied. However, we don’t always do things in the ideal way. If you are hoping to terminate a service contract then these tips should get you started.
- How to Cancel a Gym Membership that you Don't Need
- How to quit the gym (or anything) - MSN Money
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