Trying to cancel Spectrum service? Now you can, without the hold times and tedious red tape. Here’s our quick 5 step guide to cancelling easily.

Update (May 31th, 2017): Spectrum (Charter Communications) has acquired two additional telecommunications companies – Time Warner Cable and Bright House Networks. All three are now beginning to operate under the “Spectrum” name. All Charter, Time Warner Cable, and Bright House customers will see their monthly bills switch to the Spectrum name and logo.

1. Speak to Retention

Cancel Spectrum Retention
Step 1 is to make absolutely sure you’re speaking with the correct department.

The first step is to call Spectrum’s retention department. The most direct phone number to reach this department is 1-855-757-7328. You’ll be greeted by a standard “robot menu.” While the menu won’t give you the actual name of the department, you can reach retention by choosing the option to downgrade or cancel your service. Selecting that option will transfer you to the retention department.
(While the menus are lengthy and annoying, it will only be a few minutes until you’re at your destination. We say this in all of our guides, but avoid departments like billing or tech support. These other departments often immediately transfer you to an overseas call center that won’t be able to provide the help that you need. If you want to see a visual map of the menu (also known as a phone tree), or if you’d like to cut out the hold times, try GetHuman.)

Now that you’ve navigated to the retention department, you’ll be connected with a customer service representative. To be safe, double check you’ve reached the correct department by asking if you’re speaking with the retention department. If you are in another department, ask them to transfer your call to retention. You may also want to ask them to do a ‘warm’ transfer. (A warm transfer means that the original representative will not leave the line before directing you to the right place. A ‘cold’ transfer, on the other hand, means the original representative will hang up and let the system do the transfer, which often hangs up on you or sends you to an incorrect department. If you’ve made it to retention, you’re halfway to cancelling Spectrum! Now what?

2. Prepare Your Excuse

Moving and Cancelling Spectrum
The easiest way to cancel Spectrum without hassle is to tell them it’s because you’re moving.

Now that you’re on the phone with retention, tell the representative that you need to cancel the service because you’re moving to an area which doesn’t have Spectrum. As we mentioned in our How to Cancel Comcast post, a secret Comcast employee guide laid out the best excuses to get out of your service. While Spectrum and Comcast differ in many ways, these successful cancellation reasons are basically the same for all cable companies. So without further ado, here are the “best” cancel scenarios – scenarios in which a Spectrum representative will allow you to cancel without trying to ‘save’ you from canceling (i.e. make it harder for you to cancel).

Save Attempt is Not Applicable in the Following Scenarios

  1. Customer is moving to a non-Spectrum area (an area where Spectrum is not offered)
  2. Account holder is deceased / incapacitated.
  3. Temporary / seasonal disconnect and Seasonal Suspend Plan is not available in their area.
  4. Natural disaster.
  5. Customer doesn’t know what address they’re moving to.

As discussed in previous posts, many of these shouldn’t be used. It’s difficult to pretend you’re dead (and they might even ask for a death certificate), bluffing that you’re moving in with somebody else will lead to more questions (they’ll want to know what address and the account holder), and Spectrum may think it unlikely when you say you’ve been hit by a tornado in Connecticut. The best option is to inform the representative that you need to cancel because you’re moving to an area where Spectrum service is not offered. That’s one of the easiest ‘secrets’ to easily cancelling your Spectrum service.

More specifically, we suggest saying you’ll be moving to another country, because Spectrum is only available in the U.S. If you’d prefer, you can just list a different city, but research and make sure Spectrum isn’t available there. Otherwise they’ll try to get you to move your service to your new residence!

Be careful of getting stuck in a conversation explaining the actual reasons you’re cancelling Spectrum. The reps will say just about anything to keep you as a customer, and that means an extended, pushy conversation. They may try sending out a technician to ‘fix’ whatever issue you had, they might offer a one time credit or they could pull out any number of other tricks in an attempt to prevent you from cancelling. But stay strong, because these distractions will only keep you from your ultimate goal: cancelling your Spectrum service!

3. Stay Firm and Be Friendly

Be Friendly When Cancelling Spectrum
The Golden Rule of Cancelling: however you treat the reprsentative when cancelling will be exactly how they treat you. Be nice!

We discussed this a little bit during the last section, but Spectrum will do anything and everything they can to stop you from cancelling, or even just to slow you down.

Here are just a few of the things they might offer: help transferring your service to your new address, a (somewhat) better price, maybe even a premium channel or a promise to boost your internet speed. Be especially careful when they try to get you to sign a contract (sometimes they’ll just call it an ‘agreement’), to keep the service (or maybe even add new services). If you agree to that contract, you might be trapped with that service for another year or two! Don’t fall for it! Be friendly, but firm. Tell them you’re only looking to cancel your service and you aren’t interested in any offers.

The Spectrum representative you’re speaking with is very important to cancelling successfully. If the representative makes a ‘mistake’, you may find that your service never ends up being cancelled at all! Or, if you’re trying to schedule the service to be cancelled in the future, they might ‘accidentally’ cancel your service on the spot (even though you still need it for a few days). In our experience, the friendlier you are, the fewer ‘mistakes’ happen. You’ll be able to get your service cancelled on the day that you want, with no ‘accidents.

4. How to Return Spectrum Equipment
(without getting unreturned equipment fees)

Returning Spectrum Equipment
Always be careful when returning Spectrum equipment.

An often overlooked, but vital part of cancelling service with Spectrum is returning your Spectrum equipment. That includes things like Spectrum Modems, Spectrum Cable Boxes, or Spectrum DVRs. If you forget to return your equipment, Spectrum will charge you for it. And they won’t charge you $10/mo, they’ll charge for the full replacement cost of the equipment. Since they get to decide what the replacement cost is, they can say it’s hundreds of dollars. As we mentioned in our Comcast article, cable companies like Spectrum would much rather get you to pay them the full replacement cost than get that worn out remote back from you.

Before you hang up with Spectrum, ask what equipment you need to return to them. If you have internet only, that’s most likely to be a modem (If you read our blog, you may have already bought your own modem.) If you have television service, it’s likely you’ve got a cable box or a DVR. The Spectrum representative will have a list of the equipment that you’re renting from them. And don’t forget to ask for serial numbers so you can make sure you’re returning the correct equipment! We can’t reiterate it enough, but it’s one of cable companies’ favorite tricks to charge heavily for unreturned equipment on the account.

Now that you know what equipment you’re returning, it’s time to return it! There are three ways to get that equipment back to Spectrum. First, in a prepaid return box (you can ask the rep to send one out to you). Second, you can go to a Spectrum/Time Warner Cable/Bright House store (you can find one here). Third, you can ask the rep to send out a technician to pick everything up at your residence. Photograph the equipment you’re returning, (and check the serial numbers against the ones they told you on the phone). This may seem like overkill, but future you will thank you for doing your due diligence. If you’re using a pre-paid return box, photograph the equipment in the box. If you’re returning to a Spectrum/Time Warner Cable/Bright House store, sneak out your phone and take a picture of the equipment on the counter. Don’t forget to get a receipt! And of course, take a photo of that receipt too. There’s always a chance that something Spectrum doesn’t scan it in correctly or it gets lost somewhere along the way. Unfortunately for you, Spectrum will assume you never returned the equipment and you’ll need the evidence you collected to contest them. And if you’re feeling up to it, ask the person accepting your equipment at the Spectrum store for their ID number. One last tip: ask Spectrum to confirm the cancellation via email. This can seem daunting but this is all just to cover yourself! Once you’ve made it through this gauntlet, you’ve just got one step left: confirming the cancellation went through successfully!

5. Confirm the Cancellation

cancelling Spectrum call
The best thing you can do after you’ve cancelled Spectrum? Make sure you cancelled Spectrum.

You’re on the last step! You’re almost there! This last (and most important) step of cancelling Spectrum is confirming that the cancellation has gone through correctly.

This step is easy – just call Spectrum (after having finished steps 1-4) and ask them to confirm that everything is as expcted! Specifically, ask three things: (1) if there is an outstanding balance on the account (2) if any equipment is showing as unreturned in their system (3) if your Spectrum service is cancelled going forwards. Make sure that all of the answers match up with what you expect. If they don’t, have the agent on the phone fix the issue and then do step 5 one more time.

You Cancelled Spectrum!

You cancelled Spectrum!
Congratulations on cancelling Spectrum!

You’ve made it to the end of this guide! Congratulations! Maybe this all seems like overkill, but if you’re diligent and complete these steps, your new, Spectrum-free life will be worry free! To recap: Speak with retention, tell them you’re moving to an area without Spectrum service, be nice and friendly on the phone, return any Spectrum equipment you rented from Spectrum, and last but not least, confirm everything. If you want someone else to do this for you, you can always have BillFixers help! Good luck!

Editorial Policy: The information contained in this article is for educational purposes only and is not legal, tax, or debt advice. You should consult your own attorney or seek specific advice from a legal, tax, or debt professional regarding any such issues. Please understand that BillFixers™ policies change over time. Posts reflect BillFixers™ policy at the time of writing. While maintained for your information, archived posts may not reflect current  BillFixers™ policy.

Opinions expressed here are author's alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer or other company, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities. All information, including rates and fees, are accurate as of the date of publication and are updated as provided by our partners. Some of the offers on this page may not be available through our website.

Results will vary. Savings are not guaranteed, not all bills are eligible, and some consumers may not experience any savings.

Julian Kurland is one of the Co-Founders of BillFixers.