How to Port Your Number Without Paying the Early Termination Fee

For all those who are looking to get out of your Verizon contract without paying an early termination feeĀ (ETF), please see my video tutorial. I have been getting a lot of questions about how to go about this process and still keep your phone number. Here is a simple step-by-step process to help you port your number while still canceling without paying an ETF. After you convince Verizon (per your rights in the contract) to allow you to leave without paying the ETF, here is what you do:

1. Set up cancellation for a future date

Give yourself at least two weeks if you’re planning on getting an iPhone. The customer rep will put a note in your account that when you cancel, you won’t have to pay the ETF. Get the rep’s contact information so you can call him/her back later.

2. Call back to confirm the note in your account

Speak to a totally new rep and don’t explain anything. Just ask whether the note about not paying the ETF is there. You can never be too careful.

3. Sign up with your new carrier and port over the number

Verizon has to allow the porting of your number to a new carrier. Once this happens, your account will instantly be deactivated and you WILL be charged the ETF.

4. Call Verizon and get your ETF back

Call up the original Verizon rep and get refunded for the ETF based on the note in your account. If you didn’t get the number of the original rep, call up a new one. The note is in your account so you should be OK.

That’s it. It’s simple in theory but some people run into some bumps in the road. It’s usually due to uneducated service reps. That is why it’s good to get the number of the person you speak to who put the note in your account. Good luck and let me know how it goes in the comments.

10 Comments

  1. Sunny

    and what if it doesn’t work? i can’t get charged a ETF…

  2. Adam

    Interesting – I live in Australia and have had MANY contracts in my life, particularly with phone companies.

    We have very strong consumer laws here, and unless I’ve missed it (and it’s entirely possible given numerous fee structures) we get sent a letter every time fee’s change inside the contract period and hence fee’s especially with mobile carriers don’t change for YOU for the period you are in it – but their contracts around you probably change almost daily.

    So – I feel we are pretty covered here but that being said I’ve had many lengthy discussions with mobile carriers and found one this shifted the whole process, applying for an ABN (Australian Business Number – not sure what your equivalent is). Once that happens you are not one of the flock of normal users – you are a business user and as such they do much more to keep you (in a good way) and are much easier to convince to terminate early etc.

  3. Bob

    Sprint and Verizon both literally run you through the gauntlet taking weeks or months before they will allow you to cancel. They kept putting ETF fees on my bill and kept trying to bill me months after I had supposedly closed the account with their phone reps. Needless to say I’ll never do business with either of them again, either personally or professionally, and hope they both go out of business.

  4. Alex

    I just hope they don’t rewrite the contract based on what they saw here. And if you, Ely, get on television with your video here, I wouldn’t be surprised.

  5. Ely-
    You are THE best!!

    I called VZW today and, after speaking to 4 people, am out of contracts, without ETFs, on 5 lines of service!

    Thank you SO much for the video as well as documentation of your epic struggle.

    Finally, allow me to offer some advice to others who want to try this.

    1) Don’t bother arguing with the peons who pick up the phone first, go straight to a supervisor.

    2) This takes the right supervisor on the other end of the phone, but is what ultimately worked for me- BEG. Give them the facts, explain why you have a RIGHT to be let out, and PLEAD with them… I said that “I would be much more inclined to return to VZW if I left [within my rights as stated in the contract] on amicable terms.”

    Good luck to all, and, Ely, thanks again.

  6. John

    I did this yesterday with Verizon and it was SOOO simple. I typed up a good talking points sheet based on the video and the current details. I told her my wife lost her job and we needed to switch to a budget company, but we’ll likely come back to Verizon in the future. I told her I want you to just put a note on the acct so that we can port our number to another company. She tried to sell me on lower plans so that I have the best network…blah blah blah. She said we’ll have to charge you a fee. I told her that my bill said they were increasing the Federal Universal BS Fee and that it was Verizon’s policy to allow me to cancel without a fee within 60 days. She said where did you read that? I (not knowing which detail she ment) told her there was a notice on our last bill about the fee increase. She pulled my bill and verified it. Then she asked about where the company policy was in writing. I told her exactly where to go on their website to find the information. After a long pause she said “Ok, the note is on your account. After you port your numbers, call us back and we’ll remove the fee from your account”. WOW! Thanks a lot for the help!!!

  7. Mimi

    Just got off the phone with VZW after 1h45m and no luck. I called today regarding the increase on Feb 1st, 2010 of the 411 charge from $1.49 to 1.99. I tried to get out of the contract using Ely’s tips and the “material adverse effect” statement in my customer agreement to no avail. I spoke to 2 reps, 1 supervisor and 1 person at “director level”. All of them came at me with a different angle. Two such points were (a) VZW does not charge for 411, ATT does. Therefore VZW has not changed your contract, ATT has. Arguing the point that VZW provides or “brokers” this service to me got me nowhere. Other angles of attack only infuriated the “director” person I spoke to. (b) since you have never used 411 (I have never used it in 8 years of service on any of my two lines), this does not have a material adverse effect on you. Told them that my customer agreement did not state that I had to use the service. Asked them to define material adverse effect. They were unable to do so. I am dissapointed by my outcome this evening.

    I will try again tomorrow…Any pointers??

    Thanks!

  8. Mimi

    John, what bill states an increase in the Federal Universal Service Charge? I haven’t been able to find it.

    Thanks!

    @John

  9. Bill

    I am trying to get out of Verizon today regarding the Notice of Change to Regulatory Charge in my July 2011 invoice. I spoke with the customer service agent and an escalation specialist trying to get out of the contract. No dice. They gave me the headquarters address to send a letter to, but said that they cannot provide anything in writing stating that the .03 increase is not considered material and if I don’t accept the credit, that I am also admitting it is not an adverse material affect. After a few go-arounds, we both agreed to disagree and I will try again tomorrow. Wish my luck was better on my first try.

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