How to Replace a Cell Phone Without Renewing the Contract

By Lisa East Hunter

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You want a new phone but you don't want to sign a long contract with your cell phone service provider. Obviously, the salesperson at the phone store is going to give you a high-pressure sales pitch. You don't have to sign a contract when you get a new phone, however. In fact, if you are an existing cell phone customer all you have to do is buy a new phone and have your current number activated on your new phone.

Step 1

Review your contract. While the resistance to sign a long contract is understandable, it might not be in your best interest. Consider your life situation. Are you planning any big job changes, location changes or life changes? Are you happy with the service your phone company is providing? If you think you might stay with your provider anyway, find out what kind of deals you can get a new phone by signing a contract.

Step 2

Check your phone's warranty. If there is something wrong with the phone and it is still under warranty, you might be entitled to a replacement phone at no charge. If you don't want to replace the phone with the same exact phone, ask for the replacement value as credit towards a new phone.

Step 3

Look at refurbished phones. Cell phone resellers offer deep discounts on used phones--some with a 30-day warranty. These phones have been sold to a reseller, repaired and are being listed online for resale.

Step 4

Buy a phone from a friend or co-worker. As soon as your friend deactivates the phone through her phone company, it can be transferred to anyone who uses that same provider.

Step 5

Shop sales and discounts. Most of the big sales are attached to signing a new contract. But you may be able to get a deal on phones that are being discontinued.

Step 6

Pay full price for the phone, switch it to your account, and begin using the new phone with no contract.