On Your Side: Break Out

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March 26, 2007

If you've got a cell phone, chances are you've got a contract to go with it that can keep you locked in for years.

Now you may have some options to get out without breaking the bank.

Breaking a cell phone contract will usually cost you around $200 per phone. It's a pretty good incentive not to do it.

But one website is using a loophole in the contracts to help you break out without going broke.

Cell phones and contracts go together like peanut butter and jelly. In most cases, you can't have one without the other.

For some cell phone users, it can be frustrating knowing you are tied down for a year or even more.

Getting out of a contract can be expensive and confusing. We asked some cell phone users what they would have to do.

"I'm not really sure; I've never tried to get out of one," one user said.

"I have to pay back a portion of the money...I'm not sure how much," said another.

"I guess I would go down there and just end it with them..." one said.

"I have to pay a hefty fine. It's like a $300 fine," another said.

Now, the confusion and the cost can come to an end thanks to the World Wide Web.

The website is called celltradeusa.com. It's been around for a couple of years, but not a whole lot of folks know about it.

Essentially what it lets you do is sublease or transfer your cell phone contract to someone else.

You just go online and fill out your info, like who your carrier is, what kind of plan you have and how long your contract is for.

That information is put online and you just have to wait for someone to respond.

You can even sweeten the deal by offering your phone and any accessories you have.

You just pay 20 bucks to the website. Everything else is free. You may not know it, but transferring your contract to someone else costs you nothing.

That could save you $200 or $300.

But if that doesn't work, you may have to get a little creative.

"Some people I know have said they're moving to Alaska," one user said.

If you're the person wanting to get a phone, you'll save the $35 activation fee and sometimes the cost of the phone and the accessories. Not to mention, the contract is shorter.

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