How to Cancel Your Internet Service

Are you planning to move? Or are you just looking for a lower price or better internet service package? No matter why you are looking to cancel internet service, this guide will help you learn everything you need to know. After all, canceling your internet the right way can save you big bucks.

The following steps and tips will empower you to find a new plan that suits your needs, avoid unexpected fees, negotiate a better deal, and return your rented modem and/or router.

When should you cancel your internet service?

If you are moving to a new area, you may need to change internet service providers (ISPs). Even if you are happy with your current provider, you will have to switch if they are not available in your new area. Many people also choose to cancel their internet service if they find a provider that offers faster speeds at a lower price. If you find a more impressive package or simply wish to change so you can take advantage of bundling services with cable or home phone, switching ISPs could be a great move for you.

You may also want to switch ISPs if you are unhappy with your current internet service. Of course, it isn’t always that simple. There may be some fine print you missed when you signed your initial contract that makes canceling a bit more complicated. But, this guide will help ensure your internet switch is as seamless as possible.

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How to cancel your internet service

Read your internet package contract

Verifying your contract and reading the fine print is the first step in figuring out what to do next. Many ISPs charge fees for the early termination of a contract. If you are simply looking for a better deal and don’t have a deadline, like a moving date, then you may want to hold off on cancellation. Early cancellation fees can be much higher than you think so you may want to find out what the penalty is before you go cancel. If you can’t find this information on your contract, feel free to call customer service and ask about it. A customer service representative will be able to verify your contract and explain the cancellation policy to you in more detail, including a breakdown of fees.

Get quotes, negotiate, and compare

The next step is to compare offerings from local ISPs. Find out how much internet speed you can get and the cost for each package. Ask all the questions you want beforehand so there are no surprises if you do sign up with another ISP in your area.

You can also try to negotiate with the companies you’re looking into. If you are considering switching to a new ISP, they may be willing to offer you extras to get your business away from the competition. Oftentimes, you can negotiate a better deal than what you see online. New ISPs may even be willing to pay your cancellation fees so be sure to ask if this is something they offer. You can also let your current ISP know you’re planning to cancel. They may be willing to offer you exclusive discounts or additional services at no cost to keep you as a client.

Plan your new contract before you cancel

If you have decided to switch ISPs, try to line up a new plan to start on a specific date before you cancel your current ISP. Your new ISP may need to ship you a router and have a technician complete the installation, so it may take a few days to get your new internet set up. Once you’re sure everything is set up and ready to go, call your current ISP and ask to cancel the contract.

Return equipment promptly

If you have rented equipment from your current ISP, you must return it by their deadline to avoid fees. The ISP usually provides postage or pickup services. Be sure to ask how they want the items returned and when and if you have accidentally damaged some of the hardware, disclose this to customer service ahead of time. In some cases, you may be responsible for any damages or repairs needed. All of this information is in the contract you initially signed, so read it word for word before you agree to pay anything.

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Frequently asked questions (FAQs)

Do I have to pay cancellation fees if my ISP raised their prices?

In the event that your ISP has raised pricing during your contract perios, they are required to send you notice beforehand. If you decide that the new price is not in your budget or simply refuse to pay it, you have 30 days from the date of receipt of your notice to cancel your contract with your ISP. In this case, you should not be liable for any cancellation fees as it is the ISP who changed the contract and not you. If the new pricing doesn’t work for you, you can start by letting your ISP know. If they are unable to honor your current pricing for the entirety of your contract, then you are free to cancel and take your business elsewhere without any fees.

How much notice do I have to give my ISP if I cancel?

Most companies can cut your services immediately, but this may incur fees. Generally, you should provide your ISP with 30 days notice if you plan to cancel so they can arrange for pickup or return of rented equipment and finalize your contract termination. You may also avoid paying some cancellation fees if you provide the appropriate notice. Verify your ISP contract to see what the time frame is as it can vary from company to company.

Are early cancellation fees legal?

In some states, they are in fact illegal. In addition to verifying your contract with your ISP, you should also verify local state laws to see what ISPs are allowed to do and not do. In some states, they are prohibited from charging early termination fees.

Can my ISP force me to pay damages on rental equipment?

This answer isn’t so clear-cut. You will definitely want to verify the contract you signed. In it, you may see that these charges are necessary or you may find out that your ISP waived this right and now is unable to ask you to pay. Many companies count on the clients to simply pay up when asked, but you should always verify if they have the right to do so by checking your contract.

What if I am unhappy with my new ISP?

This happens more often than anyone would think. Sometimes, it seems like someone else has a better deal and maybe they do for a short time. But in the long-term, they may be doing the same or worse than your previous ISP. If you’re unhappy with your new service, start by calling the customer service line of your new provider to see what can be done to satisfy your needs. If you can’t seem to resolve whatever issue you are having with them, then you can go ahead and call your old ISP back. They may be willing to offer you some additional benefits to reclaim your business. You are always free to change providers at your convenience. Just be sure to follow the same step-by-step process mentioned above if you are planning to switch back.

How much are cancellation fees?

This will vary by ISP and internet package. Some companies can charge anywhere from $180 to $400 for early cancellation. It can be costly in some situations and it often isn’t worth it if you can avoid it. The best thing to do whenever possible is to wait out your contract and then renew with a different company.

How do I get my new ISP to pay my cancellation fees?

This isn’t always possible but very often, new ISPs will offer to pay your cancellation fees to get you as a new client and secure your business. They don’t normally pay the charges or send you a check though. More often than not, they simply offer you a credit on your new services in the amount of the cancellation fees your old ISP is requesting. They may also ask to see proof of the cancellation fees request to confirm the amount. Again, this is a pretty common occurrence, but isn’t obligatory by any means. Every ISP is different and some may simply refuse to pay the fees, especially if they are excessive. Of course, it never hurts to give it a try.

Do I have to call customer service to cancel my internet?

This will depend on the ISP you are dealing with. Some will allow you to cancel online through a self-service portal. If you are sure of your contract requirements and all fees associated with early termination, you can feel free to cancel online if you are able to. It’s quick and simple to do this yourself. However, if you aren’t sure of the restrictions of your contract, we recommended getting in touch with a customer service rep to ensure you are fully aware of the fees associated with your cancellation, including fees you may not be aware of.

What happens if I cancel in the middle of my billing cycle?

If you can help it, it’s best to cancel at the end of a billing cycle. If you are unable to work around that, then you may also be charged for the full billing cycle, which is usually one month. This fee is not a cancellation fee. It is in addition to the cancellation fee. Most ISPs are unable to manually override a monthly bill payment and the cycle will have to be charged in full whether you cancel or not. The best way to avoid this is to get your new internet plan lined up a week or two before your billing cycle ends so you can safely cancel at the end of your current cycle.

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*Pricing varies by location and availability. Speeds may vary. All prices subject to change; for current pricing and availability visit our internet service page. Prices as of 4/18/22.

Disclosure | Updater articles are based on our own data and research, independent from partner relationships. We are not compensated by partners for information and opinions presented here. Our Editorial Terms of Service can be found here.