How to Cancel AT&T Service for You or Someone Who Died


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Crystal-clear phone service and reliable internet are a must these days. Whether you want to stream shows or just chat with friends, finding the service provider that works well in your area is essential. Many people turn to AT&T for their phone and internet services.

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Some people find that they offer the most competitive rates, while others prefer their speed of internet access. Others simply see an AT&T advertisement before they see any others!

If you find that AT&T isn’t serving your needs anymore or you’re just ready for a change, canceling your account is easier than you might think. Similarly, AT&T is responsive if you need to close a phone or internet service account after a death.

They’ll work with you to get the service shut off and stop the bills from coming. Closing down core accounts with billing companies like AT&T is a key part of managing a friend or family member’s digital legacy.

Once these accounts are closed, you can continue a loved one's legacy with a virtual funeral or memorial service on a platform like GatheringUs.

How to Cancel Your AT&T Internet or Phone Service

AT&T has an umbrella of different services. The starting point for canceling any of them is going to be giving them a call and sorting out the process for your particular service area.

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Call to cancel

Start by calling 800.288.2020, whether you’re interested in canceling cell service, a landline, DirectTV, or your home internet. Follow the prompts from the automated system. You then can have your account information ready for when the customer service person asks for your information.

Be prepared ahead of time to be offered a deal to stay. Would you keep this service if it cost less per month, or if they gave you a month or two for free?

What a customer service rep can do for you may vary, especially if you’ve taken a deal to stay with their service before. Still, considering your criteria for a deal ahead of time will help you stick to your guns and cancel your service if they can’t meet your needs.

Return any borrowed equipment

If you had home internet service, you may have equipment, such as a router or modem, that needs to be returned. If this is the case, AT&T tends to allow you 21 days to return it, so make arrangements to do that promptly or else there’ll likely be a fee.

They can offer you information on how to wipe a device, such as a loaner cell phone, to avoid being charged or exposing your data.

» MORE: Everyone's wishes are different. Here's how to honor your unique loved one.

Wrap up loose ends with any other add-ons

Some services, such as cell phone service, may require you to pay a fee if you haven’t completed your contract. Suspending your service may be an option if your phone was lost or stolen, rather than canceling fully.

DirectTV, as well, can be canceled through a Contact Form but you may incur a deactivation fee if you close your account before your contract is up.

Since each AT&T service may be part of a bundle product or a separate account, clarify with your customer service rep when you’re on the phone or communicating via email. Ask directly what parts of your service plan have been canceled and whether particular add-ons or separate accounts are still active or not.

How to Permanently Cancel AT&T Service for Someone Who’s Died

When wrapping up the estate of a friend or family member who has died, it’s important to shut down any services that might continue to bill in the name of the deceased.

It can get complicated if someone is moving into the home of the deceased and they want to use AT&T for certain services. Here are some steps to take to either transfer the service or end it in your loved one’s name.

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If someone is moving in, transfer the line

While paying the phone bill may be possible without changing the name on the account, if you know that someone will be living in your deceased loved one’s home and using AT&T services for multiple months, you can transfer the line out of the name of the deceased. It will make future canceling or transfer of the line easier down the road.

For both landline/internet services and wireless services, AT&T allows you to transfer service lines, sometimes even using an online process. If you have access to your loved one’s password manager and can log into their account, you may be able to complete a transfer of the line to a new person’s name.

Most likely, though, you’ll need to contact the main AT&T service phone number mentioned above to begin the transfer. Make it clear that you can share evidence, either a death certificate or an obituary, that the person has passed away. You may also want to mention if you’re the estate administrator since this can move the process along as well.

If no one needs the service, close the account over the phone

You’ll use the same number to close down services for someone who’s died as you would to transfer the service into a new name. Be patient with any requests for clarification or evidence, since the company doesn’t want to cancel anyone’s service if the person calling doesn’t have authority.

While it may take longer to process than canceling your own service, the company works with these requests all the time. Keep track of when you make the request so you can dispute any future charges that may occur after you’ve requested an end to the service.

Closing Down AT&T Service Permanently

Phone, internet, and even television services from AT&T are common parts of life, but there does come a time to try a new service or close down services you don’t want to use any more. When a friend or family member dies, it’s even more important to shut off service promptly, since there’s no reason to be charged for a service they can no longer use. 

Shutting off services is just one of the many small tasks to wrap up when it comes to handling an estate. If you’re managing this aspect of a person’s last wishes, you may feel more motivated than usual to make sure that your own affairs are well-handled. Join Cake to start end-of-life planning with tools that make it easy to get organized.


  1. “Cancel your service.” AT&T.
  2. “Contact Us.” AT&T Support.
  3. “Transfer billing responsibility for wireless service.” AT&T.

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