U.S. Cellular made a big change to its contract policy a few years ago with the launch of the Belief Project. The "One and Done" portion of the program allowed users to move to month-to-month service after completing their initial two-year commitment while still being able to upgrade to a new device at promotional pricing every 18 months. U.S. Cellular today revealed that it's planning another major upgrade policy change in the near future, but unlike the tweak that it made in 2010, this change isn't quite as exciting for commitment-phobes.
U.S. Cellular has confirmed to Engadget that starting later this month, it will require all customers to sign a two-year contract in order to receive subsidized pricing on a new device. The carrier says that this change will help it to offer new products and improve its customer service. In addition to the return of contracted upgrades, U.S. Cellular plans to begin charging a $35 restocking fee when a customer returns a device within the 15-Day Excellence Guarantee window. U.S. Cellular's full statement is as follows:
"At U.S. Cellular, we are continually evaluating the entire experience we offer to our customers. Beginning later this month, all customers will be required to sign a 2-year contract when purchasing a subsidized device. In addition, a restocking fee of $35 will be introduced as an update to the 15-Day Excellence Guarantee policy and will be charged when a customer returns a device during the 15-day time period. These changes will allow us to invest in improving our customer experience and offering new products and services to our customers."
Considering that U.S. Cellular customers have been enjoying One and Done contracts for nearly three years, it's definitely a bummer to hear that the more traditional two-year commitment upgrade policy will soon make its not-so-triumphant return to U.S. Cellular. The good news is that an Engadget source claims that the switch won't take place until July 27, meaning that existing U.S. Cellular customers with an upgrade available still have a few days to take advantage or it.