Is it legal for a phone company to offer a discount to keep my business andthen tell me I can’t cancel service because I’ve already accepted the discount?

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Is it legal for a phone company to offer a discount to keep my business andthen tell me I can’t cancel service because I’ve already accepted the discount?

I let my cell phone company know I wanted to cancel my service. As attempt to retain my business they offered to take $60 off my bill and give me a smartphone for $150, with a $50 mail-in rebate. I had to accept the contract in order to get the new phone, this is something I have done before and was unhappy with the product so I was able to return phone and contract within 14 days. However, they now say because I have accepted the discount off my bill I gave up the right to cancel without paying a cancellation fee. Had I not accepted the discount I could’ve returned the contract.

Asked on March 24, 2011 under General Practice, Michigan

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

The issue is whether you were made aware, prior to accepting the discount, that you would not be able to then cancel the contract. If you were aware--and this includes it being mentioned while you were on the phone with a representative, or having it in "small print" on an agreement you signed or on a website where you agreed to the terms--then they can hold you to the non-cancellation term, since it would be part of an agreement between you. If they did not make you aware of it prior to you accepting, however, they may not after the fact or retroactively add an additional term or condition. So what matters is what you were made aware of, when.


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