You can cancel your cell phone contract

Perhaps you don’t need your contract anymore? Perhaps you simply can’t afford it?

The good news is that you can cancel the contract.

1. Did you know The Consumer Protection Act (CPA) allows you to cancel your cell phone contract?
2. Did you know suppliers have to send you notice 40 to 80 business days before the expiry date of your contract? They cannot renew the contract without your permission.
3. Did you know suppliers cannot change your contract? The CPA overrides other acts if you do not understand the terms and conditions of the contract. (Section 22 of the CPA. Right to information in plain and understandable language)
4. Did you know you can cancel your contract if you do not understand the agreement? Was this clearly explained to you when you signed the contract? If a contract is not written, or verbally explained, in plain language, it is not a valid contract.

If you do cancel your agreement, remember:

  • You must give 20 business days’ notice to the provider.
  • You still owe the provider any amounts up to the date of cancellation. Suppliers can charge a reasonable penalty for cancellation. Consumer protection regulations say a reasonable charge may not exceed 10% of the amount you would have had to pay over the fixed term.
  • Suppliers must refund you any amounts as of the date of cancellation.

Consumer Tip:

Did you know that suppliers are illegally selling you prepaid vouchers that expire in 30 days? The National Consumer Commission is taking iBurst, First National Bank, Cell C, Virgin Mobile SA, MTN, Vodacom, and 8ta to task. Your prepaid credits may not expire for three years. iBurst has removed prepaid Data limitations.

Consumer Tip:

If you live in Cape Town, a Consumer Tribunal will be open in February 2012.

How can businesses protect themselves?

It makes good business sense for companies to start with clear communications. If that isn’t correctly implemented, everything falls apart. Most legal practitioners are wrong when advising their clients. Companies must take control.

Contracts not written in plain language are invalid. This includes customer contracts, employment contracts, and any other documents that may need to be litigated. Company directors, managers, and employees, are as liable as the company for any damages incurred.

Have you seen any of these documents written in plain language? I certainly haven’t.

by Amanda Patterson.

Additional information about the CPA

To complain about a provider, phone the consumer Help Line, via:

the dti Customer Contact Centre: 0861 843 384
the dti Office of Consumer Protection (OCP) : (012) 394 1436 / 1558 /1076
National Consumer Tribunal (NCT): (012) 663 5615
NCT E-mail:
NCT Website:

Source: StartupCEO


Please note this was written in 2012.

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This article has 0 comments

  1. Litch

    Hi there I would like your assistance please. My cellc contract comes to an end in August 2015 which entitles me to an upgrade as the contract is nearing the end. So I went in to a cell c store to get the upgrade, after getting home with my new phone and going through it I decided that I did not like it and took it back to the shop within 24 hours. I was then told that I could not change the phone, I then said that I would rather just cancel the whole upgrade all together which was only meant to take effect in August. I was told that I would be liable for the entire contract fees. Please tell me what are my rights in this regard. Thank you.

  2. Clayde

    Did you know you can cancel your contract if you do not understand the agreement? Was this clearly explained to you when you signed the contract? If a contract is not written, or verbally explained, in plain language, it is not a valid contract.

  3. Ramona

    I renewed my contract three months ago. The new phone went in 5 times and they eventually replaced it. Then the replacement new phone has been sent in for repairs two weeks ago for the same issues, keyboard not working. Now they want to give me a new phone again of the same model after the consultants told me the phone is not longer being sold due to numerous complaints. How can I go about cancelling my contract

  4. Writers Write

    Ramona, go in to the provider and tell them you are cancelling your contract. Tell them you are doing it in accordance with the Consumer Protection Act. Please read ‘If you cancel your contract’ above. If you still have problems, call one of the contact numbers.

  5. meeka

    i have a problem and i hope you can help me. I took a cellphone contract with Telkom mobile in 2011 after June just not sure exactly about the date and month but the contract was meant to take 18 months, which was going to end begging of 2013. begging of 2013 they called me to upgrade the contract, i said NO i want to let it end since its the end anyways, they told me i must go to East London to be able to do that which they said is the nearest branch because i was in Eastern Cape. i didn’t understand why, because i Took it over the phone mos, when i asked if we cant do it over the phone the lady said NO. they kept on calling since and i kept asking them to terminate because i noticed they were still debiting from my account even though the contract ended. now begging of this year i decided to send then an email, then they sent me a form to fill in and they even called me to finish the termination but still they are still debiting, every time i remind them i terminated the contract they ask me for a reference number and i keep giving them, and i told them i want my money from when 18 months ended because they could have sent me a form like they did this year instead they said there is nothing they can do. i don’t know why they wont TERMINATE this thing. please help me.

  6. Writers Write

    You need to go to your bank and cancel the debit order. Tell them that you have cancelled the contract.

  7. Writers Write

    Meeka, what are your contact details so that Telkom can contact you?
    You can also message them on Facebook

  8. Mawande Jaxa

    I signed a contract with MTN, when I went to the shop the following day to change to another contract I WAS REFUSED to. they say the phone is already registered in my name and they can’t take it. Please help

  9. Writers Write

    You can email or message them on Facebook

  10. Mothusi Mofokeng

    On 23 July 2015, I received a call from mtn agent as my contract was coming to an end. The reason for a call was for an upgrade but only to find out on my statement in August that they have added 2 other contracts mean I m sitting with three mtn contracts.
    I have written emails of cancellation to all the contracts with mtn but instead they have decided to debited me an amount that is over thousands rand a month.


  11. Writers Write

    Try to message them on Facebook

  12. Amber

    I have recently been charged into the thousands for a data contract that I have for R89. While I was aware that I had spent more than my allocated data and that I would have to pay in, I had no idea that it would be so expensive thereafter. The first 2GB cost me R89 and the next 2GB cost me R2000.

    I have asked that the contract be cancelled and no one could assist and eventually I have requested a copy of my contract and the verbal recording where everything was explained to me as I really would not have signed or agreed to something if I knew that the rates would increase by so much after the data ran out! I can handle paying more but R1911 increase is crazy!

    What I would like to find out about, is whether I have a right to have a copy of the contract and my verbal recordings, as I have asked for this now and the provider is currently ignoring all my requests.

  13. Writers Write

    We have found that it is most effective to contact your provider on their Facebook pages. We are not legal experts and we cannot give advice.

  14. Geraldene

    Hi, please advise me if i can cancel a contract that was taken 10 days ago, the device is well recognized brand however looking online i have experienced the same issues with automatic shut down, the network provider just said ” phone to get booked in to determine the issue and fees to be discussed if it requires fixing” I do not i appreciate such service replies for factory faults! Am i within my right to cancel the contract should the network provider be of no assistance? it is on a contract. I await your response. Kind Regards Geraldene

  15. Writers Write

    As far as we know, you can. If you were sold a faulty product, they should replace it. As we said, message the provider on Facebook and tell them what has happened.

  16. cliffy

    hi I just want to know something ‘ I hve an celc contract ‘ its in the beggining stages ‘ I hve it for 4 months now ‘ and I can’t afford to pay it anymore bcus I don’t hve a job anymore ‘ and now I want to cancel the contract ‘ I don’t hve any oustanding fees ‘ all are up to date and next month is my last payment ‘ after that I don’t know ‘ but I want to know if I can cancel the contract and what will it cost me since I hve no more money ‘ what do I hve to do or what can I do ‘ please help

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