General Question

Yellowdog's avatar

If you have a contract and lose a phone, can you get out of a contract?

Asked by Yellowdog (10536points) August 6th, 2019

A few of you may remember that my iPhone was stolen about a month ago. But this is not about that—it is similar.

A relative of my mother has had an iPhone lost or stolen. She no longer has the phone, but is still paying a premium for the phone and her heavily pop-up ad laden contract.

This must be a common problem. So, what is the solution? Do you still have to pay the monthly bill per contract even if your device was lost or stolen?

I have insurance for mine so I know how that works. But what about for someone who has no insurance?

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17 Answers

janbb's avatar

She would have to talk to her carrier, I imagine since Consumer Protection has been severely weakened.

jca2's avatar

I would think many people would use “I lost my phone” to get out of a contract. I don’t think it would work.

gorillapaws's avatar

I think she’s screwed. I always enable find my iPhone on all of my iOS devices to prevent this.

I mean flip it around and pretend you’re a drug dealer. Hypothetically speaking, you front someone say $500 worth of “product” and they pay you back $50 every month for the next year. But then they tell you they lost it or it was stolen. Do you just give them more product? are they free from their obligation to you because they were careless?

Zaku's avatar

Generally what I’ve seen is the contract is an agreement where you agree to pay a phone bill at a certain rate for a certain time in exchange for some “deal” on a cell phone.

If you lose the phone, or it dies, you still have to pay the bill.

What one would commonly do if a phone is lost before the contract is up, is get a replacement phone and have the phone company set it up to be the phone you can use with that contract.

One might find that phone prices have dropped since then.

Or one might choose a less expensive phone (e.g. used, refurbished, older/cheaper model) as the replacement.

Or one might happen to have a spare older phone laying around, or a friend might, or The Salvation Army might, or Bubba55 on Craigslist might, etc.

Or one could choose to break the contract, whatever that entails.

OR, one might choose to switch carriers, to take advantage of some deal for switching carriers, which might include a new phone as part of the deal.

Dutchess_lll's avatar

Probably not. A contract protects both parties.
She needs to get another phone to put on her account so she isn’t paying for nothing.

Dutchess_lll's avatar

However they might move her to a less expensive plan if she asks.

jca2's avatar

Why would they move her to a less expensive contract if it’s a contract? Isn’t that what a contract is? You can’t just break it on a whim.

Dutchess_lll's avatar

They can change plans within the contract. All a contract does is give them the legal right to charge you out the wazoo if you cancel them altogether before it’s up.

jca2's avatar

Oh yeah I remember when I used to have Verizon. They’d let you go up or down on your minutes or gigs or whatever it was, but then you had to re-sign for 2 more years. It was like, ok, I’m never going to get out of this because the two years is never going to end.

Dutchess_lll's avatar

When I was with CellOne I moved people around all the time. USCellular, which is who I am with now, lets me move around painlessly. But some companies are stupid. “Oh you want to add 10 lines? Well you can’t unless you reup your contract.”
“You want to increase your plan from $50 a month to the $100 plan? Not unless you sign a new contract. Yes, I know you’ve been with us for 20 years but thems the rules.”

Tropical_Willie's avatar

I thought iPhones had a “FIND ME”, that the phone company could find where the phone was and track the phone!!!!!

Dutchess_lll's avatar

I don’t think they have that specific capability @Tropical_Willie.

Tropical_Willie's avatar

They have GPS all cell phones made after 2010 (I think that was the year). They can track them.

I have two different tracking apps on my cell, one with a “SCREAM” that overrides a muted phone.

Yellowdog's avatar

Yes, most phones can be found this way, but you need an App to do it.

Finding a phone this way does not help you get it back, however. About all it can do is prove that your phone was stolen.

Once your battery dies, or is removed, all it can do is locate where your phone last was.

Dutchess_lll's avatar

Well…we went camping in a remote spot a few week ago and I invited my son and his fam out. I called my provider to see if we could use my phone to just track me down and they said they didn’t have the technology to do that yet.

Darth_Algar's avatar

If someone doesn’t have insurance then they’re shit out of luck. They still have to pay what they agreed to for the term they agreed to.

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