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Verizon Defends Doubling of Early Termination Fee

Soulskill posted more than 3 years ago | from the we-decided-we-liked-money dept.

Communications 319

I Don't Believe in Imaginary Property writes "Verizon is defending its decision to double its Early Termination Fee from $175 to $350 after being called to account by the FCC. They claim it's because the higher fees allow them to offer more expensive phones with a lower up-front cost (PDF), and they also say that because they pro-rate the fee depending on how much of your contract is left, they still lose money. Apparently doing something about the Verizon customer service horror stories isn't as good a way to retain customers as telling them that they have to pay several hundred dollars to leave."

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319 comments

Federal Trade Commission (1, Insightful)

TubeSteak (669689) | more than 3 years ago | (#30498856)

Maybe consumers would have a better chance at fairness if Verizon had to justify itself to the FTC.

Fairness? (4, Interesting)

grapeape (137008) | more than 3 years ago | (#30499044)

Fairness would be selling the phones at standard unlocked prices and letting people buy their contracts ala carte. Of course that would also mean much higher phone prices, how many people would buy the iphone or Droid at $600? In the long run consumers would be better off for it, but many seem to want the latest and greatest but don't want to pay more than a couple hundred bucks to get it.

In Verizon's defense, they are likely looking to stop some of the scamming that goes on with newer phones. I know of a couple local discount cellular stores near me that was having employees buy iphones, keep them 30 days so that the return policy is no longer in effect and then pay the early termination fee, for a 32gb 3gs they nearly double their money. Perhaps a better option would be a tiered ETF?

Re:Fairness? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#30499100)

Of course that would also mean much higher phone prices, how many people would buy the iphone or Droid at $600?

Why does an unsubsidized phone have to be $600? Why not $250? I mean, the iPod touch is $199, and you can get a cheap throw away phone for $20, add in a bit for some software development and a you get an unencumbered smart phone for a reasonable price.

Re:Fairness? (2, Informative)

tepples (727027) | more than 3 years ago | (#30499250)

I mean, the iPod touch is $199

With no camera and no GSM/UMTS radio.

and you can get a cheap throw away phone for $20

TracFone and Virgin Mobile phones are subsidized and provider-locked in the hope that you'll buy more minutes.

Re:Fairness? (2, Informative)

ozmanjusri (601766) | more than 3 years ago | (#30499408)

In Australia, resellers have to tell you the actual cost of the phone. If you look at the prices at Harvey Norman [harveynorman.com.au] (a big electronics/furniture chain) you can see that those "subsidised" phones can end up costing a lot.

Nokia E51 Mobile Phone - Silver, $529
$0 Upfront on a $30 Telstra Plan *1.
Minimum payment $720 over 24 months.

BlackBerry® Bold 9000 Smartphone, $999
$0 Upfront on a $100 Telstra Plan *1.
Minimum payment $2400 over 24 months. The BlackBerry® Bold 9000 Smartphone features email compatibility, 2MP camera and video camera.

Re:Fairness? (1)

Rytr23 (704409) | more than 3 years ago | (#30499402)

Fairness would be selling the phones at standard unlocked prices and letting people buy their contracts ala carte. Of course that would also mean much higher phone prices, how many people would buy the iphone or Droid at $600? In the long run consumers would be better off for it, but many seem to want the latest and greatest but don't want to pay more than a couple hundred bucks to get it.

Sure, and in "fairness" if you buy a phone at full price, your bill would be less the cost of the ETF each month..right? Oh, sorry, you do not get a discount for paying the "retail" price of any device. So, i guess if the monthly charge is the same either way I'll take the discount.

Competition (1)

p51d007 (656414) | more than 3 years ago | (#30499508)

The phones wouldn't be expensive, so to speak. If all phones in the USA were unlocked, and any retailer would sell them, you know good and well stores like Walmart, Target et al, would pressure the manufacturers for the lowest price and the "retail" price would come down to a few dollars, above the cost to manufacture the phone. It's called capitalism & good business. Those that didn't drop the price, would lose market share.

Re:Fairness? (5, Insightful)

orlanz (882574) | more than 3 years ago | (#30499564)

I think a better deal would be to split the discount you get for the phone and the charges for the actual service. Its that simple. On your bill, you get your Phone mortgage and your plan charges.

Then we can discuss further separating the link between the phone and the plan. The phone aspect should be treated like a straight out loan. You pick one of: the monthly payment, interest rate, or duration of loan and the provider picks the other two. Of course you should have a "buy out" option on each statement that tells you how much you need to pay to completely OWN the phone.

THEN we can realistically compare and discuss the discounts that providers give for service contracts. Right now, the system is too hidden and vague. It severely prefers customers who jump providers every 2 years and creates a lot of waste (useless phones). It punishes current and future loyal customers. Customer acquisition is a LOT more expensive than keeping current customers, and the system prefers the former with the later bearing the additional expense burden.

Meh. (3, Insightful)

RightSaidFred99 (874576) | more than 3 years ago | (#30498872)

Verizon sucks anyway. Their plans are laughable. Try pricing out a smartphone plan with them. Oh, and don't forget the (lol) extra $24 for the data plan. For an average family plan with smartphones they come out to like $40+ more than Verizon for just two lines, and it goes up as you get more lines.

Verizon can rot in hell. Can you hear me now? Yes? Well, what I said was "fuck you, Verizon".

Re:Meh. (1)

BrokenHalo (565198) | more than 3 years ago | (#30499084)

I'm not even a potential Verizon customer, since they have no presence here in Australia, but pricing out any plan is largely an exercise in futility, given that just about all telcos are notorious for moving the goalposts as soon as you've signed on the dotted line. All you can do is run your costings on what they're offering at any given moment, in the hope that there isn't some buried clause in your contract that allows them to multiply the costs by x^n under whatever circumstances they hadn't seen fit to mention before. Or in the hope that the clause that says they can "vary the terms of your contract without bothering to tell you" won't come back to bite you on the bum.

Re:Meh. (0)

Shakrai (717556) | more than 3 years ago | (#30499362)

All you can do is run your costings on what they're offering at any given moment, in the hope that there isn't some buried clause in your contract that allows them to multiply the costs by x^n under whatever circumstances they hadn't seen fit to mention before. Or in the hope that the clause that says they can "vary the terms of your contract without bothering to tell you" won't come back to bite you on the bum.

Why would you have to "hope" that there isn't a buried clause in the contract? You did read it before signing it, right?

I'm not aware of any agreement in the wireless industry that can be changed without notifying the consumer. Typically if they change your contract in their favor you can cancel and avoid paying the ETF.

Re:Meh. (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#30499536)

I'm not aware of any agreement in the wireless industry that can be changed without notifying the consumer. Typically if they change your contract in their favor you can cancel and avoid paying the ETF.

Not necessarily. For example, AT&T and others drastically raised the cost of texting a few years back, but said that since it wasn't a material change, one couldn't terminate without paying the ETF. By all accounts, it was a material change (and IAAL) but it's a bitch to fight. They're all slimeballs, and the only way they bend is when they lose public-interest based class action lawsuits.

Re:Meh. (1)

Ogive17 (691899) | more than 3 years ago | (#30499208)

I only pay $65/month through Verizon for my blackberry storm. I consider that a good deal since my co-worker has an iPhone 3G and pays $80/month for the same plan and the phones have very similar features.

Customer care (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#30498874)

Verizon will go any lengths to protect their customers, even if it means killing them.

Re:Customer care (5, Funny)

eldavojohn (898314) | more than 3 years ago | (#30498960)

Verizon will go any lengths to protect their customers, even if it means killing them.

"This is an automated message notifying you that on the ... two five of ... November of ... 2009 your husband did conspire to change carriers with willful and malicious intent. Regarding this matter, he has been terminated in order to assure you continuous service. We apologize if you experienced any problems with your service during this technical adjustment. You will receive an invoice shortly for the professional handling of your husband and his disposal. Please remit payment by the end of ... December of ... 2009 to avoid further late charges and fees. To return to the main menu please press star, to talk to a Verizon funeral representative please stay on the line ... "

They can charge whatever they want (2, Insightful)

Guido del Confuso (80037) | more than 3 years ago | (#30498890)

If they didn't get you on the back end, they could just charge you more up front to buy the phone, then amortize the up front cost through lower monthly bills, until in the end you pay the same amount. That way, they could even offer "no termination fee!" But I'm sure somebody would still get pissed at call it deceptive business practices. It's a free market, and they can charge anything they like. This is a total non-story.

Please, Slashdot, can we have a way to filter out stories by submitter? I don't think I've ever seen a story from "I Don't Believe in Imaginary Property" that doesn't irritate me with its smug sanctimony and total irrelevance. Personally, I don't believe in imaginary news.

And you can write whatever you want... (1, Insightful)

shog9 (154858) | more than 3 years ago | (#30498970)

IIt's a free market, and they can charge anything they like.

It's not a free market, and folks getting upset over the dissemination of phone and plan prices aren't making it any freer.

Another commenter already pointed out that other network providers offer better better deals... The hard part is getting this information to consumers in a form that's clear and easy to understand, when the providers themselves seem dedicated to obfuscation.

Re:And you can write whatever you want... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#30499216)

IIt's a free market, and they can charge anything they like.

Your right It is not a free market if only one carrier has service in your area. It is a fucking monopoly

Re:They can charge whatever they want (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#30499190)

Actually, Koodo Mobile (in Canada) does something similar. You have the choice of buying the phone outright or amortizing the cost of the phone over a period of time. They call it running a tab: http://www.koodomobile.com/en/on/tab.shtml

Funny is a good mod... (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#30499212)

> But I'm sure somebody would still get pissed at call it deceptive business practices. It's a free market, and they can charge anything they like. This is a total non-story.

One of the free market axioms is that consumers have full information about the goods they're buying. You'll have to forgive me by trying to make it closer to true by making sure that people know about a gigantic fee buried under a huge pile of legalese before they find out about Verizon's customer service.

Also, you might know that there's more than one person who doesn't believe in imaginary property [facebook.com] these days.

But wait! My bad. I guess I should have noticed the 'successfultroll' tag on your comment [slashdot.org]. No cake for you.

Re:They can charge whatever they want (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#30499418)

Okay, here's what bugs me about this. I'm inclined to purchase my phones outright, through ebay or any shop that sells used phones. I often do this to avoid renewing my contract, because phone service from other carriers is starting to get better where I live. If I upgrade my plan to accomodate a yester-year smartphone that the company didn't subsidize at all, my ETF increases. If I change my plan or upgrade a lower end phone, I'm still locked in for 2 years from the time I upgraded the new non-smartphone.

Verizon's policies suck, but it does have the fewest dropped calls where I live and on my commute. It's only a free market when it's not the only player in the game, and I've been waiting a long time (7 years) for the competition to step up.

Re:They can charge whatever they want (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#30499490)

The issue is the cheapest cell phones cost about $30 retail yet the cheapest Verizon sells is $179.99. They are not losing money anywhere.

Let em charge what they want! (0, Flamebait)

p51d007 (656414) | more than 3 years ago | (#30499524)

No one is FORCING you to purchase a wireless phone, no one is forcing you to purchase an expensive phone. If you require a phone, get a cheap tracphone, or something similar. If a company wants to charge more, then they better offer a better service, or they will lose market share.

Crippling Early Termination Fee (5, Funny)

eldavojohn (898314) | more than 3 years ago | (#30498908)

AT&T CEO: So, basically when the new iPhone 3GS++ comes out, people will be leaving other carriers in droves.
Verizon CEO: No matter, every customer signed a contract with more words than the US Constitution which means they either didn't or are unable read it. In that contract, we reserve the right to increase our crippling early termination fee. So we'll juice that up to lock in size and by the time most customers can leave, we'll have an answer to your latest model.
Verizon Shareholder: I approve.
Verizon Customer: Why does my ass hurt?

Re:Crippling Early Termination Fee (1)

pitchpipe (708843) | more than 3 years ago | (#30499092)

Man, I would love to get the Droid, but I had Verizon. I'd rather shoot myself in the head than go back to that nightmare of a company. Don't get me wrong, I have AT&T and I really hate how they've spied on us, but this is a case of choosing Satan himself or one of his lowly henchmen who - when he fucks you in the ass - will at least use some lube.

Don't pay the fee (4, Insightful)

Kohath (38547) | more than 3 years ago | (#30498914)

If you don't want to pay the fee, you should avoid it by not signing an agreement with Verizon. If you don't like Verizon's customer service, you should avoid it by not signing an agreement with Verizon. Or sign an agreement and live up to your obligations and avoid the fee that way.

Don't hire the government to force the people at Verizon to do things against their will -- unless the people at Verizon have truly defrauded you, personally, out of a significant amount of money. Because forcing people to do things against their will is (almost always) morally wrong.

Re:Don't pay the fee (5, Insightful)

jkgamer (179833) | more than 3 years ago | (#30499160)

I agree with you 100 percent, well almost. Forcing Verizon to do anything that isn't in their corporations best interest is morally wrong. Because we all know that large corporation are only looking out for what is best for the consumer! If you get a "free" phone from Verizon for your aging mother so that she can stay in contact with you more easily, well then you SHOULD have to pay the early termination fee of $350.00 for that $29.99 piece of electronics when she passes away on the 21st month of your contract. And while we are at it, let us remove those other pesky regulations that the goverment has placed upon these large corporations. Let us remove the one where they are required to pay a minimum wage to their employees. We all know that this is just costing us jobs. Hell, my cousin Bruce could be making as much as 50 cents an hour AND have a job if it wasn't for that pesky goverment interference. Shame on you Mr. President (Because we all know that he REALLY makes all the laws, the Congress and Senate are just for show.) Let's remove the regulation that says Verizon must provide access to their lines from other competitors as well. I don't want no stinking Sprint customer to be able to call me. (You and your aging mother are using the SAME provider, aren't you?)

My point is that a truly and totally free market is a farce. There has to be a balancing act performed to keep the market truly competitive and profitable. Unfortunately, one groups idea of fair and balanced differs from another groups idea of fair and balanced. That is why we need regulation. Maybe this particular case isn't one that requires regulation. Maybe this particular case works as it currently is implemented. Obviously not everyone believes that, especially the person who DIDN'T get a DROID and then for whatever reason had to cancel their contract two months early.

Oh and one more thing. Maybe forcing PEOPLE to do something is morally wrong, but corporations are NOT people. People generally have to live with their actions, a corporation can merely disolve itself and start up as a completely different corporation. It is a lot more difficult for a person to simply disolve their identity and reappear under a completely new one free of all legal and moral obligations of their past actions. If the US goverment is going to provide corporations with that type of benefit then they do have a MORAL responsibility to make sure they don't abuse it.

Re:Don't pay the fee (4, Informative)

causality (777677) | more than 3 years ago | (#30499412)

My point is that a truly and totally free market is a farce. There has to be a balancing act performed to keep the market truly competitive and profitable. Unfortunately, one groups idea of fair and balanced differs from another groups idea of fair and balanced. That is why we need regulation. Maybe this particular case isn't one that requires regulation. Maybe this particular case works as it currently is implemented. Obviously not everyone believes that, especially the person who DIDN'T get a DROID and then for whatever reason had to cancel their contract two months early.

The only way you would ever have a free market is if the average person always fully understood both the product/service that is being sold AND any contract that goes along with it. Even that wouldn't be enough. You would then need for all people, as individuals, to be willing to boycott a company (even in the absence of a competitor) and bring it to its financial knees and to be willing to do this over even minor abuses. They must do this individually and not as the result of some organization's decision, and nearly all of them must do so. Then if a corporation even remotely looks like maybe it is screwing someone over, it gets faced with its own bankruptcy and made an example of. This will put other corporations on notice, proving to them that anything resembling bad-faith or malfeasance absolutely will not be tolerated and will be punished at all costs.

This model would not result in more bankrupt companies. It would result in companies complying with the wishes of the people in order to make a profit, just like everything they do now is for profit. The only thing that would change are the particular behaviors that lead to profitability. This would radically change the way citizens relate to corporations. It would fundamentally alter the balance of power. Right now that balance of power favors the corporations -- they are the major players in the market, and most customers cannot truly negotiate with them but must instead accept contracts of adhesion. They have the money and the lawyers and the political clout, meaning they can alter laws in their favor RIAA-style.

Until and unless people come to see it this way, we will indeed need government regulation. Government is about the only thing big enough and powerful enough to deal with corporations that are often larger than many nations. Even then we have the problem of well-funded lobbyists that were not sent to Washington by average citizens, but by monied interests. That's why I think this is ultimately only a partial better-than-nothing solution, as it merely relocates the problem from the marketplace to the realm of public policy.

Re:Don't pay the fee (1)

MindlessAutomata (1282944) | more than 3 years ago | (#30499532)

Until and unless people come to see it this way, we will indeed need government regulation.

Who will regulate the government and prevent its corruption? You state,

The only way you would ever have a free market is if the average person always fully understood both the product/service that is being sold AND any contract that goes along with it.

How is that not similar to the politicians people vote for? You're just treating the government as a benevolent, righteous deity because "IT'S SUPPOSED TO" carry out justice. But the world doesn't run on wishes. You can't escape the necessity for people to be responsible and informed, first and foremost, and when they are that makes the need for regulation unnecessary.

Re:Don't pay the fee (1)

MindlessAutomata (1282944) | more than 3 years ago | (#30499498)

There has to be a balancing act performed to keep the market truly competitive and profitable.

Shouldn't that be you?

Everywhere I go people claim we need some great authority to keep a smaller "authority" in check. We need a city government to rule over people, because people might do bad things. We need county governments to rule over the cities, in case the city does something wrong. We need a state government to watch over the county governments. We need a federal government to make sure the states don't pass terrible laws. So on and so forth; some people go even further and claim we need a world government, but that doesn't even solve the problem, and I'd say the further up the chain you go the more removed from the actual effects of your policies and the more apt and able a leader is to engage in corrupt activities.

Every business exists because either 1) shady and clearly immoral business practices (outright theft), 2) government largesse, or 3) because people are paying for the goods and services. I'm a believer in certain types of collective action, and if you want better pay and working conditions then collective bargaining is an option. Likewise, consumers are free to express their disapproval by refusing to engage in business relations with a corporation that conducts business in a way unsuitable for them.

You say,

Unfortunately, one groups idea of fair and balanced differs from another groups idea of fair and balanced. That is why we need regulation.

Like above, that applies to governments, too. Who is going to watch over, or regulate, when they have differing ideas of fair or balanced? A world government? Who will watch over that? God? Many people worship a deity simply because it gives them comfort that something right in the world will ensure justice always happens, something that will make good happen to them and for them, without them having to lift a finger to fight it themselves. God is, however, just a creation of the human mind, and after people have increasingly begun to realize this they turned to government to try to right every little wrong and scratch every little itch they have. But the edicts of governments are not moral ones, and no one "should" follow a government's laws as if doing so will put them on the right side, morally speaking.

People generally have to live with their actions, a corporation can merely disolve itself and start up as a completely different corporation. It is a lot more difficult for a person to simply disolve their identity and reappear under a completely new one free of all legal and moral obligations of their past actions. If the US goverment is going to provide corporations with that type of benefit then they do have a MORAL responsibility to make sure they don't abuse it.

That would be more the result of the emergent nature of a corporation, and the actual laws and regulations put in that specifically dissolve people of individual responsibility in a corporate setting.

That is why we need regulation. Maybe this particular case isn't one that requires regulation. Maybe this particular case works as it currently is implemented. Obviously not everyone believes that, especially the person who DIDN'T get a DROID and then for whatever reason had to cancel their contract two months early.

Guess what? Verizon is not the greatest company around, but they don't exist, or shouldn't exist, to serve you. Many, many companies have termination fees, as insurance because a fickle or unreliable customer can easily cost them money. My ISP demanded a deposit, which functionally works a similar way, when I first got my cable access particularly because I was a new customer. Life is tough and shit happens, but you have to take responsibility sometimes. If you foresee the termination fee becoming an issue you should either set aside the money for it or not go with that Verizon service to begin with. Again, YOU agreed to do that if you entered the service. It's your own fucking fault. No, seriously. It -is- your fault if you agree to that service. You really aren't entitled.

Also,

Hell, my cousin Bruce could be making as much as 50 cents an hour AND have a job if it wasn't for that pesky goverment interference.

If you think the only thing really keeping someone from making minimum wage is the government, you're delusional. The job market is itself a market like others, subject to the same supply and demand considerations, so on and so forth.

Re:Don't pay the fee (1)

DebianDog (472284) | more than 3 years ago | (#30499268)

Oh please . Can I sign up, get service, and not sign and agreement? NO. Now exactly would I know how good their customer service, the network, or coverage is without signing up with them? Then once I find out how crappy the service for -my- needs I am stuck? Then they can charge -ANY- amount of $$$ to release me from crappy service? Sorry buddy there should be some level of oversight. Luckily Verizon is awesome -here- and I have been a customer for 8 years!

Re:Don't pay the fee (1)

karnal (22275) | more than 3 years ago | (#30499330)

That's my main trouble with service from the cell companies.

Let's say I wanted to buy a phone - like my current Fuze/touch pro. So I buy it in full, up front for say 600$ (not sure what they were initially, but this is a good starting point.) There is no way I can go month to month with them without getting one of their packages ($30 data, xx for xx minutes of voice etc.) And - this package is at the exact same price point that the people whose phones are subsidized are paying.

If I bring the phone to the table - or my contract (2 years) runs out, I should get some sort of discount on the service since I'm not paying them back for the phone.

I would be first in line to a decent-coverage network if I could find a carrier like this. But - the catch - it has to cover all of North America; or at least similar to what the bigger 3 have.....

Re:Don't pay the fee (1)

BrianRoach (614397) | more than 3 years ago | (#30499374)

Oh please . Can I sign up, get service, and not sign and agreement? NO. Now exactly would I know how good their customer service, the network, or coverage is without signing up with them?

You're right, there is absolutely no way to research this information.

While I'm no fan of the telcos and know that their math is skewed, it's not like you can't do a little googling before making a two-year commitment to something. Or ask some friends / coworkers; more than likely at least a couple of them are going to have verizon.

Re:Don't pay the fee (1)

sglewis100 (916818) | more than 3 years ago | (#30499596)

Oh please . Can I sign up, get service, and not sign and agreement? NO. Now exactly would I know how good their customer service, the network, or coverage is without signing up with them? Then once I find out how crappy the service for -my- needs I am stuck? Then they can charge -ANY- amount of $$$ to release me from crappy service?

If only there was some sort of short term period [verizonwireless.com] wherein you could return the phone for a small "restock" fee (ie: the non return of the activation charge and pay only for your actual usage and have the contract null and void. SIGH!

Customers need to be informed (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#30499272)

> If you don't want to pay the fee, you should avoid it by not signing an agreement with Verizon. If you don't like Verizon's customer service, you should avoid it by not signing an agreement with Verizon.

That's a very good idea. That's pretty much why I wrote this story: to make sure that potential customers know what they're getting into. If they sign the contract even after knowing, well, that's their fault. But it might do them a lot of good to know that Verizon changed the contract on them (and they can, therefore, be made to drop it because Verizon isn't living up to what they originally agreed to). Most people don't have time to read 800 page contracts every few days, just to see if they've changed.

In other words, even if Verizon is doing everything legally, people still have a very good reason to want to know about this fee hike. One of the free market axioms is that customers are able to make informed decisions. This story helps support that idea.

- I Don't Believe in Imaginary Property [eff.org]

Re:Don't pay the fee (5, Insightful)

Jawn98685 (687784) | more than 3 years ago | (#30499278)

Don't hire the government to force the people at Verizon to do things against their will -- unless the people at Verizon have truly defrauded you, personally, out of a significant amount of money. Because forcing people to do things against their will is (almost always) morally wrong.

Obviously, you missed the part about "the agreement" being intentionally and maliciously complex, to the point that it is indecipherable to the average customer. Said customer, having been assured by the friendly sales rep, "It just says [insert standard salesman bullshit rap here]", signs anyway, in the mistaken belief that he's dealing with a fair and honorable business.
There are laws against trying to cheat customers. Hiding your draconian terms in an indecipherable "agreement" is anything but fair and honest. It should be illegal.

Re:Don't pay the fee (1)

Shakrai (717556) | more than 3 years ago | (#30499432)

Said customer, having been assured by the friendly sales rep, "It just says [insert standard salesman bullshit rap here]", signs anyway, in the mistaken belief that he's dealing with a fair and honorable business.

If you believe what the salesman tells you then you are already a lost cause. His job isn't to look out for your best interest. His job is to sell.

Hiding your draconian terms in an indecipherable "agreement" is anything but fair and honest. It should be illegal.

The reason that businesses in the United States have such agreements is because of the ease with which you can sue people in this country. Because of this lawyers have an outsized amount of influence and insist on covering every possible base in any account agreement. It has less to do with "Let's screw our customers!" and more to do with "Let's try not to get sued".

Re:Don't pay the fee (2, Insightful)

vvaduva (859950) | more than 3 years ago | (#30499284)

I couldn't say it better; the contract people sign with Verizon is voluntary...nobody is holding a gun to your head, so go to a competitor. The market will sort things out in the end.

Re:Don't pay the fee (1, Insightful)

lorenlal (164133) | more than 3 years ago | (#30499444)

so go to a competitor. The market will sort things out in the end.

What's interesting here is that those competitors have similar contracts, setups, fees, etc. At what point does regulation step in and say, "You aren't playing by the rules?"

Suppose the major vendors decide that when one of them raises prices, rather than compete with an advantage, they raise their own prices to match? At what point does it become collusion and price gouging?

I ask because it appears to me like the market is nearly impossible for new players to jump into.

Re:Don't pay the fee (0, Troll)

vvaduva (859950) | more than 3 years ago | (#30499520)

I'm not in favor of regulation, so my answer is "never" - using a cell phone is not a constitutional right or a necessity, so I will not buy one or use their services.

Re:Don't pay the fee (4, Insightful)

db32 (862117) | more than 3 years ago | (#30499326)

Forcing kids to do homework or eat vegetables or stopping drunk drivers, rapists, murders, thieves, genocidal dictators, slave owners/traders, and so on is all morally wrong? To say "almost always" is a little overboard, not that I disagree with the notion you are trying to get across. I just think the situations in which it is not morally wrong to stop someone happen a lot more often than you imply.

In this case...the trouble is that the government is giving verizon special permission in order for them to operate their service (frequency usage, tower locations, etc). Additionally, the whole notion of contracts that one side can unilaterally change at any given time is pretty stupid too.

That said, fraud is one of those things that should be stopped. There are plenty of conmen that tell "the truth" but do it with so much smoke and mirror tapdancing that people still sign up. What you are attempting to do is blame the victim by letting verizon totally of the hook. So...they say it is to help subsidize the phone. Why is it that I would get subjected to the termination fee if I brought my own phone? This also adds to the issue that they claim they recoup the cost of the phone through their rates and the ETF makes up for the people who leave early. Well...why don't I get a lower rate for bringing my own phone? Or why don't I get my rate reduced after I have paid back the subsidized portion of the phone? I am guessing you haven't seen the leaked meetings where they talk about how many billions they make using various fraudulent billing tactics. They force people to burn minutes as they sit through the ever growing "welcome to your verizon voice mail and blah blah blah and blah and blah blah blah pres blah blah blah" messages.

I agree that we shouldn't hire the government to force Verizon to do things against their will. However, calling them out for deceptive and fraudulent bullshit is not the same. (Their argument for why they hide the ETF is that it is 'not important' and they got busted on that when it was decided that big ETFs qualify as materially important pieces of a contract). I think the best solution would actually to slap "users of any service provided using these frequencies cannot be subject to early termination fees or have their service terminated for excessive roaming" in the fine print of the agreements they have with the FCC to even operate. I bet they would scream bloody murder at such a one sided contract change...and then we can tell them "Well you shouldn't have signed anything with the FCC, you could have started your service in the Sahara where there is no FCC."

Here is a solution to cell phone madness (0)

bogaboga (793279) | more than 3 years ago | (#30498922)

Let us interested Americans pool resources and start a nation wide non-profit cellphone company where we can all do as we please or where we can all utilize resources according to predetermined policies.

It would not be that hard.

Or, we could take over an existing company like Metro [metropcs.com] then do as we please. We surely can raise a few billion dollars, can't we?

Re:Here is a solution to cell phone madness (0, Flamebait)

BadAnalogyGuy (945258) | more than 3 years ago | (#30498952)

It's called nationalization, and it's a shame that Americans shy away from such a pro-consumer action because it stinks of "socialism".

Re:Here is a solution to cell phone madness (-1, Redundant)

bogaboga (793279) | more than 3 years ago | (#30499006)

Then they should also reject the arrangements currently in place for fire fighting, public education and Medicare/Medicaid etc. In our movement, we do not compel anyone to join. What we do, is to offer choice.

Those who see the benefit of our efforts can join; those who would like to stay away can do precisely that.

That's freedom, right?

Re:Here is a solution to cell phone madness (0, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#30499264)

It's not freedom, you fucking commie. Where are you getting the money from? From those of us with a steady paycheck who are FORCED to pay for your worthless socialist enterprises.

Imbecile.

Fire fighting, the military, and several other examples of social services which we accept in the United States are accepted by those with a head on their shoulders for one simple reason only. It's called the "free rider" problem. You can't provide a military for only some, for example ... all would benefit from it. And I know *you*, you fucking hippie scum, wouldn't be the one paying for it, yet you'd be reaping its benefits. So, in those cases, we make everyone pay for it.

Arguments can be made that public education benefits everyone, even those without school aged children actively using its benefits, and should be similarly provided for. Same thing, although I would personally disagree, for Medicare and Medicaid.

This is *not* the case for a fucking cell phone company, you whiny, impotent, useless bitch. Go fuck yourself.

Re:Here is a solution to cell phone madness (0, Troll)

baboo_jackal (1021741) | more than 3 years ago | (#30499398)

Then they should also reject the arrangements currently in place for fire fighting, public education and Medicare/Medicaid etc. In our movement, we do not compel anyone to join. What we do, is to offer choice.

Great idea! This year when I file my taxes, I'll just check the, "No thank you, I would not like to pay taxes for Medicare or Public Education!" boxes!

Actually, this is great argument to present to confused people who seem to think that taxes are some sort of donation that everyone should be happy to pay rather than a forcible confiscation of your hard-earned money. If you really *are* for "freedom" and "choice," then why don't we just allow people to voluntarily pay taxes only for the pieces of government that they actually support? That would include things like funding wars, etc.

Now *that* would be freedom.

Re:Here is a solution to cell phone madness (1)

iwaybandit (1632765) | more than 3 years ago | (#30499460)

We had a nationalized phone company, AT&T. All telephones were black and had a dial. After the breakup all kinds of innovative services became available, and prices went down.

Ok, technically it was a monopoly, but they had government's blessing to maintain that status. The only difference is that the CEO was not a member of the Presidential cabinet.

Re:Here is a solution to cell phone madness (1)

causality (777677) | more than 3 years ago | (#30499480)

It's called nationalization, and it's a shame that Americans shy away from such a pro-consumer action because it stinks of "socialism".

No, nationalization is when the government assumes control of something. The GP was not talking about that. He was talking about private citizens purchasing shares of an existing corporation on the open market in order to own a controlling interest. That controlling interest can then be used to determine how that corporation runs. His idea is to use that to set up a truly customer-friendly cell-phone company. In a way it's a good idea. The barriers to entry in this market are rather high; better to legally take over an existing company with an existing customer base than to try to start from scratch.

Either you were itching for an excuse to discuss socialism or you really misunderstood the GP.

Careful, they're going to covertly sign you up (0, Troll)

Blappo (976408) | more than 3 years ago | (#30498924)

Somehow, Verizon has done the impossible, it has developed a way to sign people up for onerous contracts without their realizing it.

THAT is why this is so serious, it used to be you could just say "No, I'll use a different carrier" and go on about your business. NO LONGER!

Ah, the good old days, when I was responsible for the contracts I signed and the agreements contained within...

GOD DAMN YOU VERIZON! WHY!!!

Re:Careful, they're going to covertly sign you up (1)

buttersnout (832768) | more than 3 years ago | (#30499026)

IANAL but to me the contract seems unconscionable. Once signed up, Verzion is able to decide any amount of money the consumer owes them whether as a monthly fee or termination. I don't understand why such a contract would be legal.

Re:Careful, they're going to covertly sign you up (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#30499090)

"Once signed up, Verzion is able to decide any amount of money the consumer owes them whether as a monthly fee or termination"

At which point, you have a period during which you are allowed to break the contract AT NO CHARGE.

Read that again, if they do change your contract, you are given a period of time during which you can end the contract with no charge or penalty, as though the contract didn't exist.

So the only reason you would have such a contract is if a) you chose to b) you failed to break the contract during your allowed period after it was changed from the contract you originally signed.

In either circumstance, it's your fault your stuck with a bad contract.

That pretty much moots all of your points.

Re:Careful, they're going to covertly sign you up (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#30499246)

And how are people informed that the contract has changed?

IS it kept in a locked cabinet in the basement of a building with no light bulb with a sign on the door that says keep out vicious dogs?
So the possibility of you finding that is has changed before the grace period is over is about nil.

Re:Careful, they're going to covertly sign you up (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#30499396)

Actually the dogs are quite nice, so it's still the consumer's fault.

That's not all they do (2, Informative)

wizardforce (1005805) | more than 3 years ago | (#30498926)

Verizon's guilty of a lot more than merely doubling their early termination fees. They've also tried to pin about 300$ in botgus charges to a friend of mine's account when she tried to leave them. I hope the FTC nails them to the nearest cross.

So what if you have a basic phone? (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#30498928)

Is the fee prorated more aggressively because the phone doesn't cost as much or are you subsidizing the super phone users?

Re:So what if you have a basic phone? (1)

maxume (22995) | more than 3 years ago | (#30499354)

You are just more profitable, no way are they (regularly) making individual agreements that they lose money on.

Where is government now that we need them? (5, Insightful)

Herger (48454) | more than 3 years ago | (#30498930)

The FCC and FTC definitely need to step in the the wireless market. Policies like this promote stagnation and high prices.

Why should the customer be bound to a wireless contract when this doesn't apply to landlines? I've said before that wireless contracts are keeping prices artifically high, allowing providers to charge quite similar rates for similar plans, because it is so difficult to switch. If customers were not tied to contracts, the ensuing price war might bring wireless rates down closer to prices that I have seen outside the USA.

Speaking of other countries - Why is the USA one of few countries where I can't just pop the SIM or UICC card out of my handset and put it into a new one? Why did it take intervention by the Chinese government to force device manufacturers to standardize chargers to minimize electronic waste?

Re:Where is government now that we need them? (-1, Flamebait)

mustafap (452510) | more than 3 years ago | (#30498976)

>Speaking of other countries - Why is the USA one of few countries where I can't just pop the SIM or UICC card out of my handset and put it into a new one? Why did it take intervention by the Chinese government to force device manufacturers to standardize chargers to minimize electronic waste?

Simple really. It's because your political system is designed to support and protect the companies that pay them. From outside, it looks like individuals in your country aren't really important.

I feel really sad for you guys.

Re:Where is government now that we need them? (1)

maxume (22995) | more than 3 years ago | (#30499034)

Motorola has been using USB for a long time. I think they are the only significant cell phone manufacturer based in the U.S.

Sure, they still play gimmicks with special cables and chargers, but the most recent one I messed with worked with a standard USB cable (it was even a Verizon branded phone).

Re:Where is government now that we need them? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#30499204)

In "Socialist Europe" that most of the US population seems to hate so much, I can buy an unlocked cellphone from any operator, I get a 1~2 year contract, if I want to leave it, I just need to pay the remainder of the months, plus, if I want to remove the card from the cellphone and put it into some other cellphone, I'm free to do so. And as a bonus to all of this, no sane operator in Europe locks phone features (unless it's in some country that really likes the US (hint: UK)).

You DO have branding, but it usually serves to give you operator-specific functionality, such as access to an operator specific web portal and such

Re:Where is government now that we need them? (1)

the eric conspiracy (20178) | more than 3 years ago | (#30499442)

The phone companies in the US are a lot more varied in their policies because they are not under Socialistic (Fascist) regulatory regimes.

If you were to use T-Mobile as your carrier in the US you would find the ability to do everything you described in your post.

Verizon not so much, but then again their business model allows you to get an expensive smart phone without shelling out the full cost up front in exchange for a contract commitment.

Your choice.

cables (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#30499230)

Not a "standard" on my new motorola phone, a clutch. It looks like it takes a standard micro USB cable but it doesn't quite fit or work, I mean I bought one and tried it and had to take it back. You have to use one of their proprietary cables.

Re:Where is government now that we need them? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#30499500)

I bought a phone yesterday from T-mobile(netherlands) and i was pleased it could charge through USB, with the very same plug that also charges my USB. and it had a charger for the wall-plug.

Re:Where is government now that we need them? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#30499050)

I've had the same SIM card for years and pop it into other phones all the time. Into phones with a standard usb charger. Here, in the US, the place you can't manage to do what millions of others do.

I feel really sad for your lack of basic knowledge or competence.

Re:Where is government now that we need them? (2)

peragrin (659227) | more than 3 years ago | (#30499132)

well to start with we don't have just GSM networking. Verizon uses CDMA, and sprint uses a different type of CDMA. So gsm only work with AT&T and tmobile. So you can SIM swap however swapping to other carriers is useless as tmobile has shitty coverage in the USA.

Good news as it stands now both Verizon and AT&T are going to support LTE for their 4G cell phone tech so in about 10 years sim swapping will be semi practical. sprint is going the wi-max route.

Chargers are a different problem and your too stupid to notice. Chargers are laid out by the manufacture of which the majority sub contract out to china anyways. Sim swapping has nothing to do with charger plugs.

It's a problem with the whole industry (4, Interesting)

BadAnalogyGuy (945258) | more than 3 years ago | (#30498932)

The total lack of customer service, the terrible coverage, and the relatively subpar implementation of cellular service in the US compared to other countries is not just a problem with Verizon. It is a problem industry-wide, and it is only getting worse.

With the economy in the toilet, these companies are losing customers like the Bucs lose football games. This means they don't have the financial wherewithal to build out the necessary networks. And due to this, customer service continues to decline.

Maybe it is time to nationalize the whole wireless carrier system and slowly parcel out contracts to private companies for the day-to-day operations. If we can punish these carriers by taking away their networks, we will see real change in customer service and subsequently real competition and improvements across the board.

As long as private companies run these networks, we're stuck with the worst possible system for cellular phone users. It may be a cultural thing because Asian and European companies don't seem to screw over their customers so badly, but it's our culture and we should (as a nation) take it back.

Re:It's a problem with the whole industry (1)

maxume (22995) | more than 3 years ago | (#30499506)

If 200 million people started voting with their dollars instead of just complaining, nationalization might start to look like the shitty option.

Umm... (1)

Timothy Brownawell (627747) | more than 3 years ago | (#30498936)

they also say that because they pro-rate the fee depending on how much of your contract is left, they still lose money.

...So, they claim to be losing money on all the subscribers who don't cancel their contracts early?

That can't possibly be right, maybe I should go RTFA to see if it really says the same thing...

Re:Umm... (1)

shog9 (154858) | more than 3 years ago | (#30499004)

No, see... it makes sense: they lose money on folks who don't leave, so they've added the extra termination fees and reduced customer service as a ploy to drive customers away and drive up profits!

But my guess is that this is just the first step; at some point, you'll pay them up-front to avoid signing a contract in the first place...

Re:Umm... (1)

dotfile (536191) | more than 3 years ago | (#30499414)

Ummm... indeed. You can do that now. Buy the phone at retail, go month to month on the service with no contract.

Re:Umm... (1)

betterunixthanunix (980855) | more than 3 years ago | (#30499020)

This is "loss" the same way that the RIAA "loses" money when you download your music. In other words, they define the word differently than everyone else, but do not mention their different definition in an effort to confuse you.

Oh boo, friggen, hoo... (4, Insightful)

mark-t (151149) | more than 3 years ago | (#30498984)

"they also say that because they pro-rate the fee depending on how much of your contract is left, they still lose money"

Wow... that's the biggest load of BS I think I might have seen all week.

They don't lose money off of the pro-rated fee... at absolute worst they lose money because they lost a customer, and even that's unlikely unless the company is teetering on the edge of bankruptcy. Heck, if a customer terminates early and the company collects that fee, they can actually earn interest on the whole termination fee sooner instead of collecting it over a period of several years.

I'm not sure in what sort of reality they think saying something like this would be likely to make anybody feel even slightly sorry for them.

Re:Oh boo, friggen, hoo... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#30499318)

You are wrong. Take a phone like the droid, 600$ retail. Sign up with verizon, pay 200$. Cancel contract, 175$. Profit: 225$. That's why verizon is doing this, to cut down on people doing the above and then ebaying the phone.

I can see why (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#30498994)

Verzion has been running various deals where you get 2 of the newest generation phones for free/nominal fee with contract. A few people have doing the following: Sign up for 2 year contract, get the 2 phones (which retail for 200-300), pay the ~$300 cancellation fee, then sell the 2 phones on ebay for a profit. Though it can certainly be claimed to be their problem and some people may get screwed in the deal, this seems like a way to continue doing what they're doing without taking such a loss.

$350? (1)

ceoyoyo (59147) | more than 3 years ago | (#30499002)

Wow. My early cancellation fee is $500. And contracts are three years, not two.

Re:$350? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#30499102)

My cancellation fee is $0. And I'm locked into a 0 month contract. 1000 minutes a month long distance, local calls count for nothing. And kick on the WiFi VOIP and calls from anywhere on the planet to home count as local (free). Up until a few years ago, I could get a new phone free each year. Now it costs $20 (more if I want a smartphone). Or just swap SIM cards with someone's hand-me-down.

For $30 month. I really should try to find a cheaper plan.

Alternative services (1)

Butterforge (1443045) | more than 3 years ago | (#30499054)

Go Prepaid! Cheaper rates and no contract! Boost Mobile - $50/month for unlimited data usage. Metro PCS - $45/month for unlimited data usage.

Except if you want to get a new phone, there is no discount. The Samsung Finesse, for example, costs $300. Out of pocket.

Re:Alternative services (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#30499334)

T-Mobile is only $30/mo (actually $1/day) unlimited data.

These "free phone" deals . . . (2, Informative)

base3 (539820) | more than 3 years ago | (#30499058)

. . . need to be regulated like the installment loan contracts they actually are, and subject to the Truth In Lending Act.

How much is the fee (2)

Murdoch5 (1563847) | more than 3 years ago | (#30499070)

I just had my contract cancelled because my phone broke and I needed a new one. I had 33 months left and they charged me 400 and only picked up 190 of it. When I told them thats retarted they said "We don't care just pay". I'm confussed on what the fee should be.

I want to call them back and agru this because first of all I shouldn't be charged for a broken phone because the phone should of broke in 3 months. Second I shouldn't be charged a massive cancell fee becasue they sell phones which break easily.

Does anyone have a story or tale about being charged a low rate for there contract. Something around 33 months would be good because I'm really pissed about how they've been screwing me. Out of the last 5 or so months I've had to call and get my bill corrected 4 times and on a second note I had to make a new call to just get my phone replaced. This company is horrible and when my contract is up I'm never going back.

At $175, is it possible to make a profit (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#30499086)

by purchasing an expensive smart phone, unlocking it, selling it on E-Bay and then paying the fee? If so, $175 is too low.

Just say it. (1)

MrCrassic (994046) | more than 3 years ago | (#30499098)

Since this is the crux of it...

Verizon Wireless said Friday that it doubled the fees for customers to break service contracts for smart phones because those devices cost much more.

and other companies have not raised their ETF incredibly (including AT&T, who just so happens to have rights to the most smartphones, including iPhone), it basically comes down to maximizing profit with the added benefit of increasing retention rate. In other words, they want more money.

However, it's not completely bleak, since they do decrease the ETF like other carriers do:

Verizon, like several other carriers, lowers the price of the early termination fee over the length of the contract. A Verizon customer who canceled a two-year contract after 23 months would still be charged $120, though.

It must suck if Verizon Wireless is one's only option. If it isn't, it makes zero sense to switch (except for network coverage, but AT&T is practically right there with them).

Re:Just say it. (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 3 years ago | (#30499378)

it makes zero sense to switch (except for network coverage, but AT&T is practically right there with them).

For one thing, there's a map for that. For another, Verizon has been known to lock out features that the handset manufacturer has advertised.

Verizon customer service is the worst (1)

Trip6 (1184883) | more than 3 years ago | (#30499122)

I have NEVER had a good experience dealing with Verizon phone or store personnel. I only feel better when I compare horror stories with AT&T customers, who have similar complaints.

I am also amazed at the piss-poor quality of connection we collectively tolerate as cell phone consumers. Remember when you could talk over a land line and actually hear somebody? And now my wife and daughter want iPhones so it's about to get even worse.

Pre-Pay is only way to go (1)

bwave (871010) | more than 3 years ago | (#30499138)

I don't understand your non-poweruser who would sign a wireless contract. Prepay is by far more cost effective, $1 a day to talk unlmited to any Verizon customer (and who isn't, even if they are evil), otherwise 10c per minute outbound, add $10 and you get unlimited text, otherwise 10c a text. Best of all, no taxes or bogus FCC fees, etc. Now if you live in NYC this might not work, as you probably have people on all the networks, so you'd be paying 10c per minute to talk outbound during the day (unlimited nights and free inbound) But here in Delaware/Maryland area, AT&T's network quality is horrible, and Sprint/Nextel is nearly non-existant.

Their service, their terms (0, Troll)

John Nowak (872479) | more than 3 years ago | (#30499180)

If you don't like their terms, don't sign their contract. They're not your slaves and have no moral obligation to offer your favorite price structure. Use another service. I do.

The FCC is completely out of line here.

Lower Cost Phones? (3, Insightful)

eatblueshell (1702842) | more than 3 years ago | (#30499198)

Absolute horse-crap. Phones are one of the most arbitrarily priced pieces of hardware on the market. Take for example the 'free phone' it is 'retailed' at 200 plus dollars. It has not touch screen, no wifi, no app store, no legit mobile browser. When in reality, you could buy, for that same 200 bucks, a iTouch, which gives you applications, wi-fi internet, Texting, and a significantly larger screen (touch screen even). Hell, with Wi-Fi, as long as you have access to a router, you can run Skype and Call anyone, FOR FREE! Hell for 200 bucks you can get a netbook! Cell-Phones are a huge, dare I say, price-fix bonanza. Friggen Rip-offs.

How much does the radio chip cost? (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 3 years ago | (#30499406)

You say a low-end phone has MSRP $200, compared to a smartphone minus its GSM/UMTS radio. But how much does this radio cost?

Re:Lower Cost Phones? (1)

webdog314 (960286) | more than 3 years ago | (#30499448)

Also remember that last year's cell phones are about as popular used gum, and just as hard to sell to the American cell market. It's for this reason that Verizon has it's "New Every Two" deal where they give you a big break on a new phone ever two years. They want you to be in the habit of thinking of phones as having a one or two-year shelf life, when most of us would be perfectly happy holding on to the phone we have for as long as five. But you BETTER buy a new phone every two years or they're going to be stuck with a whole bunch of useless hardware that they can't sell. They charge you a ton to leave not to subsidize the phones they SELL, but rather to subsidize they phones they DON'T SELL. If you buy a phone use it for a while and cancel, they might break even on the deal (probably more than that) but they lose big time if they end up with branded hardware they can't sell at all.

I'm with verizon because of the customer service (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#30499238)

After having spent 12+ years in the wireless business building the non-wireline cellular network (A-side, was Cellular One, absorbed into Cingular, absorbed into AT&T wireless) in several parts of the country, you'd think I'd stay with them. I have been with Verizon now for 8 of the last 10 years and the primary reasons are service almost anywhere I've been and their customer service. I've been mistreated and abused by Cingular, AT&T, US West (in Minnesota), and Sprint. The difference between them and Verizon is night and day. I can usually get anything handled with Verizon in one phone call, usually talking to one person. If something happens that the problem isn't resolved on that phone call, they make arrangements to call me back. And, get this - they do!

The only thing that makes Verizon suck is their nickel and dime billing strategy* and their penchant for late, crippled phones that suck compared to the other carriers (droid is late, but it doesn't look crippled, I'm sorely tempted!). However, with all the places that abuse me as nothing more than a "consumer," I'll put up with Verizon's other practices to be treated like a human customer! [* just don't use vcast, vnavigator, or anything branded verizon, don't download stupid BREW apps, and get a plan with unlimited text and your bill won't vary due to nickels and dimes everywhere. If you get a smartphone, make sure you get one that can be hacked - HTC are especially good for this, but generally any full windows mobile phone has been hackable, just not the windows smartphone ones-the ones that don't have touch screen and are crackberry wannabes.]

[on an unrelated note, this javascript enabled reply box sucks! I wanted to edit a previous sentence and it kept disrupting the mouse's ability to place the cursor in the text. Eventually I had to click in the center of the box and use the cursor keys.]

Re:I'm with verizon because of the customer servic (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#30499488)

on an unrelated note, this javascript enabled reply box sucks

It's not the reply box, there's some super-fucktarded empty div that's pinned to the bottom right of every article's page that blocks people from clicking on anything on the bottom when they're trying to reply.
<div style="display: block;" id="slug-Bottom" class="slug"></div>. Nuke Anything will take care of it.

Knowing the geniuses behind the code here, it's probably supposed to have some dumb ad in it (hiding at the bottom of the page where most won't bother see it? I guess this would be the discount rate.) but hasn't worked for years even though I'm not using adblock.

etf (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#30499446)

As a Verizon Wireless Customer Service Representative in one of their call centers, let me just say this. That early termination fee pays my bills. And the 350 dollar early termination fee only applies to ADVANCED devices such as the Droid phones, the Windows phones, and other phones that we're selling to customers at a drastically discounted rate ($200 for a Droid whose MSRP is $600) so even with a 350 dollar early termination fee, Verizon is still losing money for those that cancel early after getting one of these phones. We don't even ask for the device back when they cancel, so THEY (the ones that cancel three months after getting such a device) are the ones that are ripping Verizon off, leaving Verizon to pay HTC and Motorola for the phones that we sold to them at 1/3 of the cost.

Er, "losing" money? Bullshit. (1)

geekmux (1040042) | more than 3 years ago | (#30499478)

"...they also say that because they pro-rate the fee depending on how much of your contract is left, they still lose money.

Er, somehow I seriously doubt that the .01% of customers that terminate a contract early somehow equates to them "losing" money. Their extortionist texting rates alone could probably keep the entire division afloat. What a crock of shit.

Any company that is sitting back reaping the benefits of tens of millions of people calling in "every week to cast your vote for the next one-hit-wonder Idol" can STFU about "losing" money. They're enjoying profit streams no one even imagined 10 years ago.

bye-bye, Verizon! (1)

david.emery (127135) | more than 3 years ago | (#30499496)

I picked up his-and-her iPhones yesterday. (Was scheduled for today, but we're getting all the snow they promised, 14" and coming down at 1"/hour). Verizon coverage is very good, but ATT cannot be any worse than Verizon on customer service and in particular on corporate policies. I got a call a couple of days ago from some Verizon sales rep trying to get me to replace/upgrade my phone. I said "I don't want any of your new phones."

A friend has a Droid and is pretty happy.

Even if you're not an Apple fan, you have to give them credit for recasting the cellphone world and removing the chokehold the carriers had on costs, phones, customer service, etc, etc.

Or, you could just pay full price for the hardware (0, Flamebait)

zerofoo (262795) | more than 3 years ago | (#30499526)

I have never been prevented from paying full price for the hardware from any carrier. This allows me to go month to month on the service.

I also do this with sattelite TV companies, and I've noticed they treat me better when I am not contractually bound to their service.

Telecom contracts are for suckers.

-Ted

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