back to article FCC questions Verizon's early termination fees

US regulators are demanding that Verizon Wireless explain why it's doubling early termination fees for smartphone customers and why subscribers without a data plan are charged for inadvertently accessing its mobile web service. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) sent an open letter on Friday to the country's largest …


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  1. 54

    Frustrated Verizon Customer

    I honestly believe that Verizon is doubling the early termination fee on smartphones due to the complete flop of their BlackBerry Storm. I have had mine for 6 months and have had problem after problem since 3 weeks after purchase. After reading reviews on the Verizon website I know that I am not alone. In the past week I have been in the Verizon store 3 times requesting assitance with problems with my Storm. Each time there were others in the store with defective Storms. One person was on her 5th replacement Storm and had had problems with all 5. Verizon is aware of the problems and is recycling defective devices rather than taking responsiblilty for selling a completely unacceptable product. I believe that the increase in the termination fee is an attempt to strong arm customers into staying in their contracts with an unreliable, poor quality product.

  2. Disco-Legend-Zeke

    Executive Bonuses...

    are based on performance, e.g increased profits.

    Once all the legal and moral steps have been taken to increase revenue., there is nothing left but screwing the customer, the employees, or the government.

  3. Peter H. Coffin

    equipment cost vs time

    If it were really about recovering equipment costs, the fees would be pro-rated for the amount of time left on the contract.. $350 might be not unreasonable on a contract that started a month ago (based on the roughly $500 these things cost unlocked and the $150-200 that consumers kick in up front), and a whittling away of about $30 a month. But $350 at the end of things is $30 of equipment and $320 of "We own you, you little worm".

    1. Captain Save-a-ho

      Re: equipment cost vs time

      As a VZW customer, I can attest that the fee is actually pro-rated based on the length left on the contract. The problem is that the pro-ration scale is way off base.

      Not sure about the issues with the Storm. I would guess there's a map for that?

  4. Anonymous Coward

    They should be treated as harshly...

    as common thieves. Thieves who steal millions of dollars a month. i.e. I'd like to see some people go to jail. Intentional antics like this should place the liability solely on the individual who approved such policy.

  5. Andy Hards

    and I bet the key that gets you on their web thing

    can't be changed to something else. My wife has a dedicated key to access her network's load of crap and it cannot be changed to something more useful that she acually uses. Thankfully she is not charged for going online but this is blatant robbery and I hope they get shafted for it. No doubt a few hundred dollar fine and a smack and they'll just carry on anyway.

  6. mellomann

    Just Business Sense

    You have 30 days to get out of your contract at Verizon with no ETF. Besides, if you don't want to worry about a $350 ETF then just go to another service provider or choose a phone that is not an advanced device. I'm sure Verizon, as well as other carriers, lose a lot of money on those phones when people cancel before the end of their contract. I do think a lot of it has to do with the Storm and how badly it performed, and this is just something to decrease the temptation to jump ship before a contract is up, cuz, it's all about the money. Ultimately it's the customers choice to pay the fee, so if you don't want to pay it then don't sign up for service or don't cancel service before the end of the contract. Simple.

  7. ratfox

    How does the FCC dare?

    Verizon has a fiduciary duty towards its stockholders to rip off its customers! Why do you think they have a button whose main purpose is to charge the user $2 every time it is pushed?

  8. Moss Icely Spaceport

    $1.99 a pop eh?

    What a great business model, can I make an app for that?

  9. Lance 3


    In many cases, the FCC needs to keep their noses out of the corporate world. If they want to charge $1,000, then that is their right. The consumer agreed with it when they activated. If they don't like the terms, then walk away. It is pretty simple.

    As for the button. Customers should be able to request that they have no data access at all. Then pushing the button would do nothing. Unfortunately, the way CDMA was implemented, we piss poor at best. When the feature set was designed, they looked at what was currently out there and not what could be out there. Chances are, they can't block data access.

  10. Sean Kennedy

    The ETF *is* pro-rated

    I don't have the details of the rate, but that 350 is reduced based on the length of remaining contract.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    No just verizon..

    many other UK con artists do this.

    The wifes moto has a bloody great "web" button where many other put the menu or ok key (I had the same on an Orange Nokia a few years back). It's the easiest button to hit and if you fumble around to turn the alarm off, guess what key you hit?

    Although they don't screw you as much, they all do it.

  12. ml100
    Thumb Up

    Whats the problem?

    As long as these crooks aren't moving the goal posts for existing subscribers its all fine.

    Just don't sign up with them, vote with your feet and they will either get the message or fold.

    A mass exodus to AT$T should do the trick.

  13. Chris007

    It's never been done before...

    Company comes up with wheeze to screw it's customers.

  14. Curt Eckhart


    If the early termination fee wasn't so punitive, people could 'buy' a phone at the huge discount, terminate the contract and then sell the 'never used' phone on eBay or some other venue and possibly make a profit on the transaction. I haven't done the numbers (not interested enough), but if there was even a little gain to be made, an enterprising college student could enlist all his/her friends to buy phones, terminate and then sell them over to our entrepreneur so that a goodly amount of beer money could be made.

    Seems like a fee as high as the one mentioned in this article would surely prevent someone gaming them that way.

    BTW, I'm not a supporter of VZW or any other carrier. IMO they are all getting obscene prices for very little value provided. I have an antique phone that <gasp> just lets me dial numbers and talk to people. Quaint, don't you think?

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