Terminating your mobile phone contract & co. cleverly

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Are you dissatisfied with your mobile or Internet service provider or have you found a cheaper offer? If yes, then you must terminate your contract. We give you the most important tips on how and when to do so.

Kündigung von Handy- und Internetverträgen
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Many mobile phone contracts are signed for a certain period of time – usually for 24 months. This is also a commonly used practice for telephone and Internet contracts. During this period, you are basically bound by the contract and have to pay the agreed monthly fees. 

When can I terminate my contract?

You can cancel your contract only at the end of the term, for example after 24 months. But be careful: You have to terminate it first. Most service providers renew the contract automatically for another 12 months if you do not terminate it in time.
You can find out the termination notice period in your contract. Often the period is written in lower case in the general business conditions (AGB) and is three months before the end of the contract.

For example:
On 3.5.2018, Mr. X has signed a mobile phone contract for at least 24 months.  Since he has found a cheaper offer, he wants to terminate his contract. The termination notice period is three months to the end of the term. This means: Mr. X must terminate the contract by 3.2.2020 at the latest.

Do not wait until the last minute to terminate the contract! You can even terminate the contract right after the contract is signed and then you do not have to worry about missing the termination notice period.

How can I terminate the Internet or mobile phone contract?

You have several ways to terminate it: With an email, an SMS, a fax (in "text form") or with a letter. In this letter, you must state that you wish to terminate the contract. 
It is always important to ensure: The termination notice must be received by your service provider for it to be effective. 

Our tip: Send the termination notice by registered mail (“Einschreiben” in German) and ask your service provider for an acknowledgement of the termination notice! 

The service provider is not allowed to ask for a manual or electronic signature from you (this is known as "written form"). If the service provider anyway does so in its AGB, then this clause is invalid.  

If the service provider has not specifically regulated the form of termination, you can theoretically terminate the contract over the telephone. But we advise against this! 
Because in case of doubt, you have to prove that the service provider has received your termination notice. It is best to send the termination notice by registered mail (Insertion in letter box (Einwurf) or return receipt (Rückschein). You are also on the safe side if the service provider acknowledges the termination notice in writing.

In which cases can I terminate the contract without notice? 

There are only a few exceptions where you can terminate a telephone or Internet contract before the end of its term. You will need an important reason for such a termination without notice. This can be, for example, if the telephone or Internet service is permanently not working or is working very poorly ("non-performance" by the service provider or “consistently poor performance"). Here we explain when exactly you can terminate a contract in the event of disruptions. 

Is a long term contract not for you? There are some Internet and telephone contracts that you can terminate any month or after one year. For mobile phones, there are prepaid contracts without any term.