Get out from under it, dot-com

Get out from under it, dot-com

Rafe Needleman Former Editor at Large
Rafe Needleman reviews mobile apps and products for fun, and picks startups apart when he gets bored. He has evaluated thousands of new companies, most of which have since gone out of business.
Rafe Needleman
During the last Web boom, several start-ups launched with the aim of helping people escape from whatever financial commitments they were locked into. There were exchanges for car leases (see SwapaLease, LeaseTrader), stock options, even stakes in venture capital investments. Today we hear (via eHub) of CellSwapper, a new exchange for cellular phones that are still under contract. It competes with CellTradeUSA, which Kent German covered a month ago.

The idea is simple: If you want out of a cellular contract (and who doesn't?) but don't want to pay the early termination fee, CellSwapper will help you find somebody who wants a short-term contract and will take over your plan for the duration.

Downside: It looks like the assignee of your contract gets your phone number, which could be awkward (you can ask the carrier for a new number). On the upside, this is a legal transfer of the contract and the carriers recognize it, so once you sell your cell, you're no longer responsible for the bill at all.

Fees are $14.95 to sell a plan on consignment (you're not charged unless you make the sale) or $9.95 if you pay up front. There is no fee to buy a contract.

This post has been corrected from the original