U.S. Code § 3956. Termination of telephone, multichannel video programming, and internet access service contracts

(a) Termination by servicemember
(1) Termination

A servicemember may terminate a contract described in subsection (b) at any time after the date the servicemember receives military orders to relocate for a period of not less than 90 days to a location that does not support the contract.

(2) Notice

In the case that a servicemember terminates a contract as described in paragraph (1), the service provider under the contract shall provide such servicemember with written or electronic notice of the servicemember’s rights under such paragraph.

(3) Manner of termination

Termination of a contract under paragraph (1) shall be made by delivery of a written or electronic notice of such termination and a copy of the servicemember’s military orders to the service provider, delivered in accordance with industry standards for notification of terminations, together with the date on which the service is to be terminated.

(b) Covered contracts

A contract described in this subsection is a contract for commercial mobile service, telephone exchange service, internet access service, or multichannel video programming service entered into by the servicemember before receiving the military orders referred to in subsection (a)(1).

(c) Retention of telephone number

In the case of a contract for commercial mobile service or telephone exchange service terminated under subsection (a) by a servicemember whose period of relocation is for a period of three years or less, the service provider under the contract shall, notwithstanding any other provision of law, allow the servicemember to keep the telephone number the servicemember has under the contract if the servicemember re-subscribes to the service during the 90-day period beginning on the last day of such period of relocation.

(d) Family plansIn the case of a contract for commercial mobile service entered into by any individual in which a servicemember is a designated beneficiary of the contract, the individual who entered into the contract may terminate the contract—
(1)
with respect to the servicemember if the servicemember is eligible to terminate contracts pursuant to subsection (a); and
(2)
with respect to all of the designated beneficiaries of such contract if all such beneficiaries accompany the servicemember during the servicemember’s period of relocation.
(e) Other obligations and liabilities
(1) In general

For any contract terminated under this section, the service provider under the contract may not impose an early termination charge, but any tax or any other obligation or liability of the servicemember that, in accordance with the terms of the contract, is due and unpaid or unperformed at the time of termination of the contract shall be paid or performed by the servicemember.

(2) Reinstatement of service

If the servicemember re-subscribes to the service provided under a covered contract during the 90-day period beginning on the last day of the servicemember’s period of relocation, the service provider may not impose a charge for reinstating service, other than the usual and customary charges for the installation or acquisition of customer equipment imposed on any other subscriber.

(3) Return of provider-owned equipment

If a servicemember terminates a contract under subsection (a), the servicemember shall return any provider-owned consumer premises equipment to the service provider not later than 10 days after the date on which service is disconnected.

(f) Return of advance payments

Not later than 60 days after the effective date of the termination of a contract under this section, the service provider under the contract shall refund to the servicemember any fee or other amount to the extent paid for a period extending until after such date, except for the remainder of the monthly or similar billing period in which the termination occurs.

(g) DefinitionsFor purposes of this section:
(1)
The term “commercial mobile service” has the meaning given that term in section 332(d) of title 47.
(2)
The term “multichannel video programming service” means a subscription video service offered by a multichannel video programming distributor, as that term is defined in section 522 of title 47, over a system the distributor owns or controls.
(3)
The term “provider-owned consumer premises equipment” means any equipment that a provider of internet access service or multichannel video programming service rents or loans to a customer during the provision of that service, including gateways, routers, cable modems, voice-capable modems, CableCARDs, converters, digital adapters, remote controls, and any other equipment provided.
(4)
The term “telephone exchange service” has the meaning given that term under section 153 of title 47.
(Oct. 17, 1940, ch. 888, title III, § 305A, as added Pub. L. 110–389, title VIII, § 805(a), Oct. 10, 2008, 122 Stat. 4188; amended Pub. L. 111–275, title III, § 302(a), Oct. 13, 2010, 124 Stat. 2875; Pub. L. 115–407, title III, § 304(a), Dec. 31, 2018, 132 Stat. 5374.)
Codification

Section was formerly classified to section 535a of the former Appendix to this title prior to editorial reclassification and renumbering as this section.

Amendments

2018—Pub. L. 115–407, § 304(a)(1), inserted “, multichannel video programming, and internet access” after “telephone” in section catchline.

Subsec. (b). Pub. L. 115–407, § 304(a)(2), substituted “commercial mobile service, telephone exchange service, internet access service, or multichannel video programming service” for “cellular telephone service or telephone exchange service”.

Subsec. (c). Pub. L. 115–407, § 304(a)(3), inserted “for commercial mobile service or telephone exchange service” before “terminated”.

Subsec. (d). Pub. L. 115–407, § 304(a)(4), substituted “commercial mobile service” for “cellular telephone service” in introductory provisions.

Subsec. (e). Pub. L. 115–407, § 304(a)(5), designated first sentence of existing provisions as par. (1) and second sentence of existing provisions as par. (2), inserted headings, and added par. (3).

Subsec. (g). Pub. L. 115–407, § 304(a)(6), added pars. (1) to (3), redesignated former par. (2) as (4), and struck out former par. (1) which read as follows: “The term ‘cellular telephone service’ means commercial mobile service, as that term is defined in section 332(d) of title 47.”

2010—Pub. L. 111–275 amended section generally, substituting provisions relating to termination of telephone service contracts for provisions relating to termination or suspension of contracts for cellular telephone service.