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How To Cancel Your Internet Service 2023

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How To Cancel Your Internet Service

How To Cancel Your Internet Service: Shopping for a better deal on internet service? Moving to a new place outside of your current provider’s region? Whatever the reason, it’s time to cancel internet service at home.

Unlike with streaming services or other digital subscriptions that allow you to easily cancel online, there’s a bit more work needed to cancel your internet service contract. This guide will walk you through the cancellation process, whether you want to know how to cancel AT&T internet, how to cancel Xfinity, or any of the other internet service providers (ISP) you might have in your region.

How to cancel your home internet service

There are five steps you’ll need to follow:

1. Shop your internet options.
2. Plan for your cancellation.
3. Set up new service.
4. Call to cancel.
5. Return all equipment.

1. Read Your Service Agreement

Internet service—particularly if it’s bundled into your phone and cable bill—can be tricky to cancel. Many service providers like to lock in subscribers for multi-year plans, and canceling early often means customers have to pay an early termination fee (ETF).

The actual penalty will depend on your service provider and your plan, but generally the ETF decreases with each fulfilled month of your contract. For example, if you have just a few months left of a two-year internet service contract, you’ll pay far less than you would have to if you just renewed it.

Of course, the easiest way to cancel service without paying any additional charges is to let your contract run out and then simply don’t renew. If this is the case, be sure that any auto-renewal features are turned off so you don’t get charged for a new contract. But even if your current contract is set to expire and there’s no penalty, you might have to give prior notice—30 days, for example—to avoid being charged for additional months of service. That’s why it pays to know the details of your service agreement.

2. Call Your Internet Service Provider

If you cannot cancel your service online, call the customer service number for your ISP. You will be connected to an associate, but be warned: They will most certainly try to woo you to stay with a new deal.

Feel free to negotiate a better price if you were canceling your service because of high monthly fees. But try to avoid being so dazzled by a new package offer that has you sign a lengthy contract—you will only find yourself in the same situation down the road.

However, if you are dissatisfied with your current service or are moving to a new area outside of your ISP’s region, then stand your ground and continue on with the cancellation.

3. Confirm the Details of Your Terminated Contract

If you are moving to a new location that is not serviced by your current internet provider, you might be able to get out of paying any penalties. In particular, if you are getting deployed to the military or moving to a housing community where you are only permitted to use the internet provider already in place, there is a good chance your service provider will waive the early termination fee.

However, you will likely need to show proof of your new address outside of the service area, and you must return any leased equipment, like your router.

Keep in mind all is not lost if you do have to pay an early termination fee. If you are already shopping around for a new service provider, there may be deals specifically for brand-new subscribers that will pay for all or part of the penalty, or they might offer such a good deal that they’ll offset the ETF.

When processing your cancellation, find out exactly when the service will cut off. Ideally, you’ll want to end the call with your old company and get on a call with your new one so that you have continuous service. But at the very least, ask your soon-to-be former ISP how much longer you’ll be able to log on so you can make arrangements for the down time.

4. Return Your Old Equipment

Aside from wanting to upsell you to a new contract, the main reason internet service providers won’t let you cancel online is that they want to make sure their equipment is returned.

Unless you bought a high-speed router on your own, you probably leased one from the internet provider. That means you’ve got to return it to them within a certain timeframe or you’ll be charged a fee—perhaps the full purchase price of the router.

Some companies will make it easy for you to send back your router and other equipment via the mail or other shipping service. Others will require customers to drop off the equipment at a physical location. If it’s the latter and you are gearing up to move, you’ll want to prioritize that trip before things get too hectic and you forget.

Whichever way you return your equipment, be sure to get confirmation that it has been received. They can be sometimes slow to update their records, but they will be quick to charge fees, so be sure to have a record of your return.

5. Sign With a New Service Provider

Many of us have grown to rely on our internet service. If you work from home especially, you’ll want to have another service ready and waiting. But even if you don’t, you likely depend on a strong internet connection if you use smart devices or stream music, TV or movies. Unless you don’t mind being offline for a bit, make the call so that your new internet service is or will be ready to go at your new place.

Here’s something to keep in mind when signing on with a new ISP: It’s easy to get swept up into a long-term contract that saves you money. But if you are unsure about how long you’ll be needing an internet service, it might actually pay for you to sign on for a shorter contract at a higher monthly fee that will allow you to cancel easily at any time without penalty.

Canceling internet service requires a bit of patience but it can be done. Early termination fees may be charged depending on your service agreement, but you can avoid further fees by returning your equipment promptly.

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How to cancel AT&T internet

AT&T doesn’t require a contract for internet, so you shouldn’t have any early termination fees to worry about when you cancel. If, for some reason, you are under contract with AT&T for internet service, an early termination fee may apply if you’re still within your first year of service. 

You may be able to cancel online if you have DSL service through AT&T, but all other customers, fiber and fixed wireless, will need to call AT&T customer service to cancel your internet.

Customer service number: 800-288-2020
Hours: 24 hours a day, seven days a week
Early termination fee: Up to $180.
Equipment return: By mail only, UPS or FedEx within 21 days.
Fee for late or no return: $150

AT&T makes it pretty easy to return your equipment. Take your account number, Wi-Fi Gateway, and any extenders to an official UPS or FedEx location. You don’t even have to box it up.

Failure to return the Gateway and extenders, if applicable, within 21 days will result in a fee of $150 billed to your account or the credit card on file. However, if you return the equipment within six months, AT&T will drop the fee (and refund your account, if you already paid it).

Visit AT&T’s cancel service page.

Astound Broadband

How to cancel Astound internet

Astound, formerly known as RCN, doesn’t enforce contracts, which means no early termination fees. 

You will need to call Astound customer service to cancel your internet.

Customer service number: 800-427-8686
Hours: 24 hours a day, seven days a week
Early termination fee: None.
Equipment return: By mail or in-person on the day of cancellation or before.
Fee for late or no return: Varies by device(s).

Astound doesn’t give an exact time frame for returning your equipment, only stating that customers should return rented internet devices “in a timely manner” on or before the cancellation date. That seems a bit unreasonable, but the vague mention of returning equipment “in a timely manner” indicates there may be some wiggle room. Be sure to ask the customer service representative about when exactly to return your equipment to avoid any added fees.

For more information, visit Astound’s equipment return policy page.

CenturyLink logo on a phone screen

How to cancel CenturyLink internet

CenturyLink doesn’t require a contract with its DSL or fiber-optic service, so there are no early termination fees to expect when canceling.

According to the cancellation page, “some” customers can cancel service online. Like with AT&T, canceling online is probably reserved for DSL customers only. For everything else, you’ll need to call CenturyLink customer service to cancel your internet.

Customer service number: The correct number to call varies by location. Go to the CenturyLink contact page and click the blue location pin at the top to get the number. Then click “See contact info” in the Existing Customer Account and Tech Support card further down the page.
Hours: Monday to Friday, 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. local time
Early termination fee: None.
Equipment return: By mail within 30 days of canceling.
Fee for late or no return: $200

The CenturyLink cancellation page is surprisingly helpful. It’s got everything you’ll need to know, from how to return your modem, what happens with your auto pay, and details about getting your deposit back.

Visit the CenturyLink cancel service page.

COX

How to cancel Cox internet

Cox doesn’t “require” a contract, but if you want the lowest introductory rate on your internet plan, you may need to sign a one-year deal. Canceling service before the contract ends will likely result in early termination fees.

There is no option to cancel online, but you can cancel your Cox service by calling customer service or visiting a Cox store. Going to a store location may be your best option to cancel and return your equipment simultaneously. Find a Cox store.

Customer service number: 800-234-3993
Hours: Monday to Friday, 8 a.m. to 9 p.m.; Saturday, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Early termination fee: Up to $360.
Equipment return: Drop off in-store or mail by UPS within 10 days.
Fee for late or no return: Up to $200.

Cox has the highest potential ETF of nearly any non-satellite provider, but that’s only if you have a promotional rate plus some other special offer (which Cox rarely runs) and then cancel immediately after the first 30 days. Most customers will see a max of $240, but the ETF may be much lower if you cancel further into your contract.

 Visit the Cox cancel service page

Earthlink

How to cancel EarthLink internet

All EarthLink internet plans come with a one-year contract. Canceling before the contract is up may result in an ETF. 

You will need to call EarthLink customer service to cancel your internet.

Customer service number: 888-327-8454
Hours: Seven days a week, 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. ET
Early termination fee: Up to $200.
Equipment return: By mail within 30 days of canceling. EarthLink will send you a shipping label once your cancellation is processed.
Fee for late or no return: Varies.

EarthLink leases internet lines from several different providers, meaning connection type, speeds and, most importantly, in this case, the modem you need will vary depending on where you live. Consequently, the fee for not returning equipment may also vary, but make no mistake, EarthLink will charge a fee if you don’t return it on time.

Learn more at the EarthLink terms and conditions page.

Frontier

How to cancel Frontier internet

Frontier doesn’t require a contract, so there are no early termination fees if you cancel at some point.

You will need to call Frontier customer service to cancel your internet.

Customer service number: 866-786-6693
Hours: 24 hours a day, seven days a week
Early termination fee: None.
Equipment return: By mail within 30 days. Take to an official UPS store with the QR code provided by Frontier.
Fee for late or no return: Up to $150 per device.

Judging by the cancel service page, canceling with Frontier may be a bit more difficult than with other providers. Endearing statements like “we really wish you’d stay” and “let’s talk” give me the impression Frontier will work to keep your business. Nothing wrong with that, and totally understandable. Just be prepared for it when you call.

Visit the Frontier cancel service page.

Google Fiber

How to cancel Google Fiber internet

Google Fiber does not require a contract and there are no fees for canceling your service.

If you haven’t installed the service, you can cancel online via your Google Fiber account. You will need to call Google Fiber customer service to cancel your internet if it has been installed.

Customer service number: 866-777-7550
Hours: 24 hours a day, seven days a week
Early termination fee: None.
Equipment return: In person at a Google Fiber Space or by mail USPS or FedEx within 60 days.
Fee for late or no return: Up to $280 for ONT device and router.

Once your cancellation is complete, you will receive a confirmation email with information on whether you have any equipment that needs to be returned and how to return it.

Visit the Google Fiber cancel service page.

HughesNet logo on a phone

How to cancel HughesNet internet

All HughesNet plans come with a two-year contract and a potentially hefty fine for canceling service early.

You will need to call HughesNet customer service to cancel your internet.

Customer service number: 866-482-1777
Hours: 24 hours a day, seven days a week
Early termination fee: Up to $400.
Equipment return: By mail within 45 days.
Fee for late or no return: $300

Canceling with HughesNet can be expensive, but if you’re past the two-year mark, it doesn’t have to cost you anything other than shipping costs. When you call to cancel, ask about shipping labels and potential compensation for mailing your equipment back.

For more information about equipment return fees and ETFs, visit the HughesNet service terms and conditions page.

Kinetic

How to cancel Kinetic internet

Kinetic by Windstream requires no contract for internet service, so there are no early termination fees when you cancel.

To cancel your Kinetic service, call the customer service number or visit a local Kinetic store location. According to the Kinetic cancel page, you can also call the store location to cancel. Find a Kinetic store.

Customer service number: 800-347-1991
Hours: Monday to Friday, 7 a.m to 8 p.m. ET; Saturday, 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Early termination fee: None.
Equipment return: Call customer service for details.
Fee for late or no return: Call customer service for details.

Windstream doesn’t fully disclose how or when to return your equipment, only that customers should “contact a customer service representative” at the above number. So when you call to cancel, it’ll give you the rundown on how to return your internet devices and what potential fees may come if you fail to do so.

For more contact information, visit the Kinetic customer support page

Mediacom

How to cancel Mediacom internet

Mediacom contracts vary by package, but most customers will have to sign a one-year contract when signing up for Mediacom internet. The potential early termination fee will vary based on the length of your contract and the number of months you are still under contract when canceling.

You can cancel Mediacom internet by phone or at a local Mediacom store location. Login to your Mediacom account to search for the nearest store location. 

Customer service number: 855-633-4226
Hours: 24 hours a day, seven days a week
Early termination fee: Up to $240 with two- and three-year agreements, $120 with one-year agreement.
Equipment return: By mail or in person at a store location. Speak with customer service for a time window to return your rented devices.
Fee for late or no return: Call customer service for details.

Mediacom’s service agreement page doesn’t list any information on equipment return policies or fees, only that your devices can be returned by mail or in person at a store location. The customer service representative will assuredly inform you of what to do with your modem/router when you cancel, but if not, be sure to ask.

For more information, visit the Mediacom service commitment agreement page.

optimum logo on a phone screen with a blue background

How to cancel Optimum internet

Optimum does not require a contract for home internet service. As such, there are no early termination fees. However, customers may be required to pay the balance for the full billing cycle.

You will need to call to cancel your internet.

Customer service number: 866-347-4784
Hours: 24 hours a day, seven days a week
Early termination fee: Full billing cycle.
Equipment return: “Promptly” by mail or in person at a store location. Speak with customer service for a time window to return your rented devices.
Fee for late or no return: Call customer service for details.

Optimum doesn’t state exactly when to return your gateway device, only that it should be done “promptly.” Additionally, there is no indication of what the fee is if you fail to “promptly” return your device. Ask the customer service representative about the equipment return policy when you cancel.

For more information visit the Optimum terms of service 

Spectrum

How to cancel Spectrum internet

Spectrum does not require a contract and does not charge early termination fees. 

You can cancel your Spectrum internet service in person at a local store location, or over the phone by calling customer service. Find a Spectrum store location near you.

Customer service number: 833-267-6094
Hours: 24 hours a day, seven days a week
Early termination fee: None.
Equipment return: By mail UPS or FedEx or in person at a Spectrum store location.
Fee for late or no return: Call customer service for details.

Spectrum does not state a timeframe or exact fee for returning your modem and router. Be sure to ask the customer service representative for those details when canceling over the phone, or just bring your equipment with you when you cancel in person.

Visit the Spectrum cancel service page

Verizon Fios

How to cancel Verizon internet

Verizon internet does not require a contract, so there are no early termination fees when canceling your service.

You will need to call Verizon customer service to cancel your internet.

Customer service number: 844-837-2262
Hours: Monday to Friday, 8 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Early termination fee: None.
Equipment return: By mail within 30 days of canceling service.
Fee for late or no return: Varies by device, up to $210 or more.

Verizon is protective of its equipment. Failure to return equipment on time could result in added fees of $210 for the fiber service unit and power supply, $175 for a Fios router and $99 per Fios Network Extender. Get that equipment in on time. 

Visit the Verizon cancel service page.

Viasat

How to cancel Viasat internet

Viasat plans require a two-year contract. Canceling early will result in an early termination fee. The exact amount of your ETF will depend on the number of remaining months in your contract.

You will need to call Viasat customer service to cancel your internet.

Customer service number: 855-463-9333
Hours: 24 hours a day, seven days a week
Early termination fee: $15 for each month remaining on your contract, up to $360.
Equipment return: By mail within 60 days, recently updated from 30 days.
Fee for late or no return: Up to $300.

Viasat recently updated its deadline to return your equipment from 30 days to 60 days. Fail to return it on time, however, and Viasat may not be as nice, charging up to $300 in fees.

Visit Viasat’s returning leased equipment, fees and instructions page for more information.

How to cancel Xfinity internet

Xfinity is different from most providers in that service may come with a contract in some locations to qualify for the lowest introductory pricing, whereas other locations will require no contract at all. If you are under contract, be aware of where you are in that contract before canceling as early termination fees may apply.

Xfinity gives you a few options when it comes to canceling. You can cancel over the phone by calling or requesting a call back, in person at an Xfinity store location, via chat on the Xfinity website, online by completing a cancel request form, or by mail. Find an Xfinity store location.

Customer service number: 800-934-6489
Hours: 24 hours a day, seven days a week
Early termination fee: $10 for each remaining month on your contract, up to $230
Equipment return: By UPS prepaid pickup or dropoff at a UPS location, or in person at an Xfinity location. 
Fee for late or no return: Varies by equipment, up to $300 or more.

Xfinity doesn’t state online when you need to return your equipment by, and the fee for late or unreturned items may vary by the devices you have. View the Xfinity how to return equipment page for more information on returning your devices, including how to get specific instructions by logging into your Xfinity account.