So all that's standing between you and the handset you've always wanted is the contract signing. However, before you sign your name on that mobile phone contract, remember this: it is binding and cannot be revoked once it's signed. Once you sign your contract, you are locked-in. You can't change providers; you can't cancel your contract early.
Sounds scary? Not really. Mobile phone contracts are not bad things; in fact, they're far from it. However, as a consumer, you need to make sure you're properly informed about everything before you sign your contract. We've gathered a small list of terms and contract clauses that you need to look at before you sign.
Contracts don't seem all that expensive, but that's only because the payments are divided into small monthly payments. Some clients who total the cost of the entire contract usually do a double take. Don't just look at the monthly payments, go ahead and calculate how much you need to pay from the time you sign the contract up until the contract ends.
The basic inclusions of a contract include the handset and the monthly allowances on text, calls and mobile data. However, you need to know what other benefits you can get from availing of this contract. Do you get free gifts? Do you get free repairs and maintenance on your gadget? What kind of warranty do you have on your handset? Are there additional services aside from text, calls and mobile data that you can avail of?
Cancellation Charges and Late Payments
Even if you are extremely financially conscious, there are things outside of your control. An unforeseen emergency might cause you to be late in your monthly payments. What happens then? What are their penalties for late payments? What are their penalties for early cancellation of contract? Most of the time, you can't cancel a contract without paying a fine. There are exemptions to this, and it's always good to know what these exemptions are.
Necessary and Unnecessary Features
Sometimes, providers can blind you with a long list of features that come with mobile phone contract. This can lead you into thinking that you're getting a lot, but in reality you might not even need half the features they're offering. Most of the time they simply bundle up features so they could increase the price of the contract. Take a look at the features, and decide if you really need them. If not, negotiate with your provider if there's a way to remove some of the features you don't need. Ask about their most basic plans – after all, you can simply upgrade if you find that you need some more features.
Before you sign that contract, first determine whether the provider you chose has a decent signal in your location. Oftentimes, people realize too late that the provider they chose has weak or intermittent signal in their area, and by this time it's too late – they can't cancel the contract.
Sometimes, the temptation of having a handset can blind you from seeing what you're in for. Remember, contracts run from 1 to 2 years. Ask yourself, can you stick to the payment terms for the entire duration of your contract? Contracts are great, but they're not for everybody. If you feel uncomfortable with being stuck with one provider for 1-2 years, then you need to rethink your decision.
In every agreement, there's a clause that says the provider is free to amend the terms and conditions without notice. The clause also states that the provider can change rates, penalties and fines as they see fit. This is a very dangerous clause and one you should always be mindful of. If the economy turns for the worst, your provider can choose to raise the rates for calls and texts, and there's nothing you can do about.
Information is Power
The information mentioned above might sound negative, but all in all, mobile phone contracts are really good. However, all things have their pros and cons, and it's better to be ready for the worst when it comes to mobile phone contracts, than be surprised later on.