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More than half of American mobile phone owners do not know the month and year when their current mobile phone contract expires according to a recent study commissioned by Best Buy.

In addition, only four in 10 say they received a reminder notice that their contract was about to expire, leaving many consumers in the dark about upgrade eligibility and the plan options available.

If you don't know when your wireless contract ends, I encourage you to contact your wireless carrier and find out.

You many find out that your contract has ended or is near ending and you may be eligible for a new device and a cheaper wireless plan.
 

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Also if you are nearing the end, they might make you a nice offer right on the spot to keep you.
 

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Ha, we don't have these problems here. With the genuinely Canadian three year contracts, subscribers are permanently under contract. :)
 

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dont think we have the problem of missing out on cheaper rates after our contracts expire... Unlimited data for 7$ and 15$ for smart phones is no longer! :)
 

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+1 !

As much as I want to upgrade my iPhone 3G to the 4, I would be under contract until 2015. I didn't realize Fido stacked contracts when renewing. Even some of their own staff wasn't aware of that when I inquired about upgrading.
 

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If you don't know when your wireless contract ends, I encourage you to contact your wireless carrier and find out.

You many find out that your contract has ended or is near ending and you may be eligible for a new device and a cheaper wireless plan.
Conversely, you may be shocked to learn that the phone company has extended your contract on your phone without your knowledge.

On two of my phones, I upgraded my data package mid-term to a more costly package and without my knowledge, Rogers entered a new three year contract on their system which they claim they cannot edit.

Not that I care....my signed contract clearly states three years from original date and I don't care what they put in their system. They have no legal basis.
 

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Is it the wireless companies' business practices or the average American consumer's attittude towards money that is being called into question here?
 

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The results of the study Hugh quotes is no surprise. I have educated some very intelligent people on how to separate in their mind the cellco contract and the service plan.

cooper83, if I understand "stacked" properly, it's no surprise. AFAIK, all the wireless providers will reset our contract when we, for example, use an upgrade credit that has been building during the contract term. On the day you use the credit, the contract resets that day for another term, even if the current contract has, say, another year before it expires.

I think 99semaj will have a fight on his hands with Rogers. He'll win, but not without threatening a lawsuit. Rogers was fond of all sorts of tactics: remember negative billing?
 

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cooper83, if I understand "stacked" properly, it's no surprise. AFAIK, all the wireless providers will reset our contract when we, for example, use an upgrade credit that has been building during the contract term. On the day you use the credit, the contract resets that day for another term, even if the current contract has, say, another year before it expires.
Hmmm, not sure I understand.

In my case with Fido, I can upgrade or renew my contract 6 months before the expiry date (or in the case of iPhone4, even earlier than that). But if I enter a new 3 year agreement, it starts when my old agreement expires.

eg. My agreement ends in Dec 2012. I upgrade to the iPhone4 today and enter a new 3 year agreement. My new contract is Dec 2012 - Dec 2015).

A couple of years ago when I got the iPhone 3G, I was under the impression the new contract would start the day I entered the agreement. So if I got the iPhone4 today, I would be under contract until Sept 2013. But that's not the case. That's what I mean by a stacked contract, which - unless I'm mistaken - Rogers doesn't do, only Fido.
 

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...eg. My agreement ends in Dec 2012. I upgrade to the iPhone4 today and enter a new 3 year agreement. My new contract is Dec 2012 - Dec 2015).

A couple of years ago when I got the iPhone 3G, I was under the impression the new contract would start the day I entered the agreement. So if I got the iPhone4 today, I would be under contract until Sept 2013. But that's not the case. That's what I mean by a stacked contract, which - unless I'm mistaken - Rogers doesn't do, only Fido.
Now I understand. Bell does not operate the way Fido does. If I have a Bell contract that expires on December 1, 2010 and I upgrade to, say, an iPhone today...the new contract starts today (not on December 1).
 

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A 3-year contract is bad enough, but if Fido is stacking contracts, that is absolutely ridiculous.

...Yup, just did a search and sure enough, that's something Fido does fairly often. Guess I know which provider not to go with.
 

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This is likely one of the reasons customers don't know when their contract expires - each company does it differently. There needs to be consistency to reduce confusion.
 

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Yes, one of the Rogers' idiotic steps to cripple the Fido brand so that more people jump on the more profitable Rogers brand, is by introducing a few years back the most ridiculous thing in the world - stacked contracts. The way out of this clearly proves their idea - at any time you can switch from Fido to Rogers without cancellation fee, regardless of how long in the contract you are, starting a new 3-year Rogers contract at new customer plan prices (i.e. no retention plans).
This year for the iPhone4 you could upgrade without stacking contracts if you were one year into your contract, but at a higher price. If you were 2 years in, you got the minimum price, but with stacked 4-year contract.
On the other hand the reward program "Fido dollars" (which Rogers hasn't), can bring the price of the new handset well below that of Rogers, so it's kind of a wash. Besides, the policies change somewhat every year, and according to the current cancellation fees, it's all the same if you cancel with 2 or 4 years remaining on your contract. :)
 

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I get why stacked contracts can lead to confusion, but that doesn't get us customers off the hook. We may be victims of these cellco practices but we're not entirely innocent. We are provided with the contract when we complete the transaction at a store. We sign it. It has a start date (that day) and an end date.

Do people just toss the document into the garbage when they get home?
 

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We are provided with the contract when we complete the transaction at a store. We sign it. It has a start date (that day) and an end date...Do people just toss the document into the garbage when they get home?
The staff who work in stores & kiosks have the least amount of power when it comes to negotiating deals. By now, everyone knows the way to score a deal is through the retentions dept. With every company under the sun (other than Dell & Shaw) eliminating the need for paper, the only way to check account info is online. But when Fido's website is under constant maintenance or doesn't accept usernames & passwords, what are we to do? As much as we can ask for clairifcation of the terms of agreement over the phone, it's always a guessing game of what we're actually being charged for.
 

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cooper, I didn't think we were talking about making deals through retentions. But maybe I missed something. I'll certainly take your word that Fido is a mess.

Despite my less than stellar opinion of Bell, I can get a lot of information on my account through mybell online. Every deal I ever had with Bell came with a paper document when the deal was completed, including the latest agreement for my no-contract smartphone. Even when you make a deal with retentions, that deal is noted on your account. When you go into the store, your profile is pulled up and the information is there.

Anyway, if any Bell customer is curious about their end-of-contract date, just call customer service @ 1-800-667-0123. The csr will tell you the exact date.
 

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My last two contracts with Rogers have been over the phone, with no paper being signed at all. Therefore, my acceptance (and, for that matter, Rogers' offer) of terms may be unclear, except that "[my] call may be recorded for training or quality control purposes", so that in the event of a "misunderstanding", I'm sure Rogers could back up their side of the story.
My most recent call with Rogers involved a new plan/package, and the CSR was very clear in that the new 3yr. contract was taking effect that day. Had no idea Fido "stacked" upgrades like that - ugh!
 
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