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Verizon Bases $5 Fee To Not Publish Your Phone Number On 'Systems and IT' Costs

Soulskill posted about 2 years ago | from the also-on-'give-us-your-money'-costs dept.

Cellphones 331

coondoggie writes "Let's say that for whatever reason, you'd rather your telephone number not be published. If you are a Verizon customer, that privacy privilege will cost you $5 a month. And how does Verizon justify such a significant fee for such an insignificant service? 'The cost charged to offer unlisted phone numbers is chiefly systems and IT based,' a media relations spokesman for the company tells Network World. (Asking the same question of online customer service elicited a predictably unenlightening response.) Sixty dollars a year to keep an unpublished number unpublished? Does that seem plausible?"

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Revenue Stream (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41002681)

It's called "alternate revenue streams" and they will try to nickle&dime-XXL you for almost everything. A one-time charge would be plausible, but a MONTHLY fee? This is gauging. But... guess what? There's nothing you can do.

Re:Revenue Stream (2)

jxander (2605655) | about 2 years ago | (#41002789)

There's nothing you can do.

My first reaction was "Oh yes there is..."

But in light of another very recent /. article [slashdot.org] , I'm not sure if the alternatives are any better.

So, do you want to give up your 4th amendment, or pay $60 a year?

Re:Revenue Stream (-1, Troll)

geekoid (135745) | about 2 years ago | (#41002933)

Only on slashdot would anyone even conceive that you are somehow giving up your 4th amendment right.
Idiots.

Re:Revenue Stream (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41002993)

True: It isn't even there to give away any more.

Re:Revenue Stream (3, Informative)

jxander (2605655) | about 2 years ago | (#41003011)

I know reading TFA is considered bad form around these parts, but you might want to give it a shot from time to time.

Anyone on a prepaid cell phones lost a reasonable expectation of privacy, and can be tracked without warrant. If that's not a flagrant 4th amendment violation, I don't know what is.

Re:Revenue Stream (0, Offtopic)

JackieBrown (987087) | about 2 years ago | (#41003197)

I know reading TFA is considered bad form around these parts, but you might want to give it a shot from time to time.

Anyone on a prepaid cell phones lost a reasonable expectation of privacy, and can be tracked without warrant. If that's not a flagrant 4th amendment violation, I don't know what is.

Nice jab but you are on the wrong topic.

I guess you thought you were on this topic :
http://yro.slashdot.org/story/12/08/15/2129209/police-dont-need-a-warrant-to-track-your-disposable-cellphone [slashdot.org]

Re:Revenue Stream (1)

jxander (2605655) | about 2 years ago | (#41003437)

I know reading TFA is considered bad form around these parts, but I think reading comprehension is still in vogue.

Go back to my first post in this thread where I pondered the options of (A) getting worked over by Verizon for $60 a year or (B) getting my 4th amendment worked over by a prepaid phone, and a link to the article you mentioned.

Re:Revenue Stream (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41003207)

"can be tracked without warrant" != "is being tracked without warrant"

Re:Revenue Stream (1)

LVSlushdat (854194) | about 2 years ago | (#41003357)

Anyone on a prepaid cell phones lost a reasonable expectation of privacy, and can be tracked without warrant. If that's not a flagrant 4th amendment violation, I don't know what is.

So, if you're a bad guy, and you buy and pay for a prepaid cellphone with an anonymous prepaid debit card, filled up by cash, they can track the phone w/o a warrant, but HOW are they going to know WHO It is they are tracking??? Just curious...

Re:Revenue Stream (5, Informative)

Joce640k (829181) | about 2 years ago | (#41002893)

$5 per month is no longer in the realm of "nickel& dime", it's bare-faced robbery.

Re:Revenue Stream (0)

MightyMartian (840721) | about 2 years ago | (#41002959)

You'll pay it and like it! Now, whose your daddy? I ASKED, WHOSE YOUR DADDY?!?!?!

Re:Revenue Stream (2)

The Grim Reefer (1162755) | about 2 years ago | (#41003289)

$5 per month is no longer in the realm of "nickel& dime", it's bare-faced robbery.

I guess I'm old, but I recall Bell charging more than that to keep land lines unlisted.

Re:Revenue Stream (2)

camperslo (704715) | about 2 years ago | (#41002947)

There's nothing you can do.

yeah? Maybe they'd notice if everyone here called up Verizon, asked about this, and gave an informed opinion. Some people might switch to other carriers, or some looking for one might avoid them. If that's the case, be sure to tell them why they're losing your business, so they are fully aware of the opportunity to improve.

Responsiveness varies depending on who you talk to, so it is possible it would be worth calling more than once.

Since they're regulated by government agencies, feedback to those is appropriate too.

Re:Revenue Stream (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41003189)

seen a few phone companies now charging you a fee for the privilege of paying the bill
it started with a fee for getting an actual paper bill there was no fee if you signed up for online automat payment, that made sense

It's the phone company (0)

kawabago (551139) | about 2 years ago | (#41002687)

bend over and take it, you haven't any other choice.

Re:It's the phone company (1)

preaction (1526109) | about 2 years ago | (#41002957)

This sounds strangely like deja-vu. Wasn't there formerly a phone company, and then they did this kind of crap, and then the government applied the Sherman Anti-Trust Act hammer, and then there were more phone companies?

It's based on system design (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41002703)

Their system is design to make money for them while annoying you. I'd say it is working.

Sounds reasonable to me (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41002705)

If it cost them several hundred thousand dollars to ask a third party contractor to carry out this "Systems and IT" costs, and if it's going to cost them a non-trivial amount of money to maintain it going forwards, then yes - it is reasonable.

Especially when you consider just about nobody in the world gives a shit so they need to get a fair bit of money from each customer who activates this service.

Re:Sounds reasonable to me (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41002873)

If it cost them several hundred thousand dollars to ask a third party contractor to carry out this "Systems and IT" costs, and if it's going to cost them a non-trivial amount of money to maintain it going forwards, then yes - it is reasonable.

Especially when you consider just about nobody in the world gives a shit so they need to get a fair bit of money from each customer who activates this service.

Verizon can stick it where the sun don't shine.

This post utilized many resources related to "Systems and IT" costs. That'll be 6 grand.

Since when? (2)

FranTaylor (164577) | about 2 years ago | (#41002909)

Since when is it considered acceptable to pay for incompetence?

If this requires any more human effort than checking a checkbox, then it's just pure incompetence.

They don't charge when you DISCONNECT the service and they wipe your name from the phone book!

Re:Since when? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41003423)

well, verizon does try and charge you over 150$ for disconnection.....

Re:Sounds reasonable to me (2)

Firehed (942385) | about 2 years ago | (#41003007)

Yes, I'm sure it's really hard to add a WHERE clause to an SQL statement. This clearly costs hundreds of thousands of dollars in third-party consulting work.

Also, following federal regulations around privacy is not an optional add-on, it's a cost of doing business. I'd be astonished if they can legally do this - though not nearly as astonished as if someone from the FTC grew a pair and started enforcing these regulations against the telcos.

Re:Sounds reasonable to me (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41003163)

It's like the extra money you have to pay for bran flakes instead of raisin bran. It's the cost of paying the guy to extract the raisins.

Or maybe if they are doing it in a way that costs that much, they're not doing it efficiently as they could be

Money for nothing ...... (3, Insightful)

realitycheckplease (2487810) | about 2 years ago | (#41002711)

$60 a year for doing what? Nothing? Surely marking a number as unlisted in the subscriber database is a once-off 30 activity of at most 5 minutes. So who's being paid $720 an hour for doing it?

Re:Money for nothing ...... (-1, Troll)

geekoid (135745) | about 2 years ago | (#41002977)

not really, no.

Not that should charge, but to be unlisted it means they have to go around the normal automatically way of adding you. It also impact every phone book manufacturer.
" Surely marking a number as unlisted in the subscriber database is a once-off 30 activity of at most 5 minutes"
strawman, based on your ignorance. There is a surprising ton of crap involved in this. Contracts, advertising, 3rd party vendors, etc.
It's a lame, entrenched business model that made sense 60 years ago.
But it is a lot more then just flipping one bit.
I did some work for a couple of phone companies a number of yeas age.

Re:Money for nothing ...... (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41003073)

I call bullshit on you.

To make a phone book they have to collate a list of phone subscribers from the phone company. To exclude a subscriber, they simply don't turn over that subscriber's record to whoever makes the books. Or alternatively, the phone book company doesn't print the names of people who have the privacy bit set on their record. How can it possibly be so difficult?

How can it cost $5/month to skip over somebody's name?

What legal issues are there that would justify the same cost?

Since you're so smart maybe you can tell us exactly why.

Re:Money for nothing ...... (1)

xaxa (988988) | about 2 years ago | (#41003227)

A BT Basic phone line costs £4.80/month in the UK, which is about $7. If they can manage to give subscribers the option to be listed or not (which is simply a tick-box when signing up online), why can't Verizon?

The VoIP providers have the same rules to adhere to, and they manage to have zero-cost "line rental".

Re:Money for nothing ...... (5, Informative)

Charliemopps (1157495) | about 2 years ago | (#41003431)

I currently work for a phone company, and less than 2 years ago was part of the "number management" group.
You're full of shit.
Phone numbers are published by a 3rd party. Once a year we do a SQL dump of our existing customers and send that over. That's how the number gets published. Our billing system has a flag: nonpublish and it's y/n

The SQL statement involved is so fucking trivial it's ridiculous. There is NO reason at all to charge for this based on the difficulty of excluding you.

Re:Money for nothing ...... (2)

zlives (2009072) | about 2 years ago | (#41003023)

comcast does the same thing

Re:Money for nothing ...... (1)

Solandri (704621) | about 2 years ago | (#41003093)

Surely marking a number as unlisted in the subscriber database is a once-off 30 activity of at most 5 minutes. So who's being paid $720 an hour for doing it?

The market value of something is based on two things: How much it costs to provide, and how much people are willing to pay for it. In this case an unlisted number is worth more than $60/yr for some people, so they're willing to pay for it.

Normally, competition would drive the market price down to just above the cost to provide the service. But since our government has done such a wonderful job granting local monopolies to all the phone companies, the price remains up at near what people are willing to pay for it.

Re:Money for nothing ...... (5, Interesting)

PT_1 (2425848) | about 2 years ago | (#41003145)

$60 a year for doing what? Nothing? Surely marking a number as unlisted in the subscriber database is a once-off 30 activity of at most 5 minutes. So who's being paid $720 an hour for doing it?

I doubt it's even a 5 minute job. I work for a large telco in Europe. If a customer over here asks for their number not to be printed, we have to honour that request and we're not allowed (by law) to charge a cent for doing so. The phone directory is based on a database, which is linked to our customer care software. If a customer asks for their number to be removed from the phone book, a customer care agent clicks the button on their screen and the database is updated overnight. Factoring in a staff member's time, overheads for running the call centre etc., a call like this costs on average the equivalent of just over $4. Charging $60 per year is outrageous.

Re:Money for nothing ...... (0)

willy_me (212994) | about 2 years ago | (#41003279)

It's not for nothing. Stupid and greedy? Yes, but not for nothing.

By unlisting a subscriber they are incurring the opportunity cost of selling that subscriber's information. Yes it sounds stupid and only an economist would understand, but bean counters will take this into account. What they don't take into account is the cost of pissing off a large part of your customer base. I suppose with everyone signed up with long term contracts they don't have to worry able a mass exodus of customers.

Re:Money for nothing ...... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41003439)

It's to help replace some of the revenue they've lost from not allowing your number to be published, used by 3rd parties, etc.

It's an ILEC (1)

dgatwood (11270) | about 2 years ago | (#41002719)

The only reason they need to give is, "Because we can." That's what monopoly status buys you.

It's true, folks! (5, Insightful)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about 2 years ago | (#41002721)

Verizon has built a system where it is cost-effective to track every single $.10 text message and minute of call time; but it costs $5/month, forever, to keep a database field set to 'no' rather than 'yes'... Surely this is entirely plausible, no?

Re:It's true, folks! (3, Funny)

Samantha Wright (1324923) | about 2 years ago | (#41002829)

Yes!

I mean... no?

Re:It's true, folks! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41003297)

Customer: "Ask me the questions, CSR! I am not afraid!"
CSR: What... is your name?
Customer: "Anonymous Coward."
CSR: What... is your quest?
Customer: "I seek to have my phone number removed from Verizon's directory."

Verizon has built a system where it is cost-effective to track every single $.10 text message and minute of call time; but it costs $5/month, forever, to keep a database field set to 'no' rather than 'yes'... Surely this is entirely plausible, no?

Yes!
I mean... no?

Aaaaaaaaaaaauuugggh... [youtube.com]

Re:It's true, folks! (3, Funny)

TheGratefulNet (143330) | about 2 years ago | (#41002859)

[blonde voice] "updating databases is hard!" [/blonde voice]

Re:It's true, folks! (1)

v1 (525388) | about 2 years ago | (#41002963)

[blonde voice] "updating databases is hard!" [/blonde voice]

don't forget to bob your head dramatically left and right when you say that

Re:It's true, folks! (1)

fustakrakich (1673220) | about 2 years ago | (#41003079)

Who cares if it's plausible if people buy it? The bean counters will determine what's plausible.

Re:It's true, folks! (5, Informative)

adlib24 (739952) | about 2 years ago | (#41003157)

I wish they just cut the crap. Verizon has built a system where they can sell your listing for a profit. Some of that money is used to offset the cost of maintaining your line. Without that revenue stream they need to add a fee in order for you to be a profitable customer.

It reminds of the situation with desktops and Windows. Because of licensing arrangements, it is cheaper to buy a Windows prefab than to buy a machine with no os. Crazy but true.

Without certain features some products are not as profitable for vendors, so it is discouraging, but not surprising, that they would pass on the offset costs to the end-user.

What the market will bear (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41002723)

They charge you 5$ because you will pay it. Don't like it? Vote with your wallet and switch to another provider. Oh, too much of a hassle so you'll just pay the 5$? That's why they are charging 5$. Because you will pay it. "Cost" has nothing to do with "price." Willingness to pay sets price.

Re:What the market will bear (1)

sjames (1099) | about 2 years ago | (#41002955)

I say we the market should bear the CEO's office. A hungry North American Grizzly should do nicely.

Re:What the market will bear (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41003327)

Can we put a laser on it? I'll even just a Koala bear if I get to have it with a laser.

Re:What the market will bear (1)

Firehed (942385) | about 2 years ago | (#41003033)

"Contracts"

You may want to look into them. I'd be quite surprised if this is a large enough change to provide you with a window to end your service contract without the ETF (unlike, say, raising rates or changing contents of the plan, which definitely is)

Re:What the market will bear (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41003129)

Landline phone service is a monopoly. You either have the service or you have nothing. You could switch to a cell or an unreliable VoIP provider, but for many people those are unacceptable options.

This is not a free market issue because it isn't a free market.

Used to be solved by class action (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41002735)

This is the kind of thing that could've been solved by class action (I hate to say it, but class action is actually useful for some things).

But that was back before every single corporation on the planet started contractually affirming no one can file a class action against them and then the courts actually fucking agreed with them.

Re:Used to be solved by class action (1)

cjc25 (1961486) | about 2 years ago | (#41002801)

What would you file a suit for? No tort or crime was committed. This is a price change for a non-essential service which you don't need to purchase, and entirely legal.

Re:Used to be solved by class action (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41002835)

This is the kind of thing that could've been solved by class action (I hate to say it, but class action is actually useful for some things).

But that was back before every single corporation on the planet started contractually affirming no one can file a class action against them and then the courts actually fucking agreed with them.

Every corporation in the U.S. Don't generalize to the rest of the world that has sane laws concerning consumer protection.
Ironic isn't it, since the US is the consumerist society by antonomasia.

Re:Used to be solved by class action (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41002945)

But that was back before every single corporation on the planet started contractually affirming no one can file a class action against them and then millions of complete idiots agreeing to that.

FTFY. If people weren't so keen to agree to those terms, I guarantee they'd be gone in a heartbeat. If the lost 75% of their customer base overnight the moment they instituted those terms, they'd be changed by the next business day.

But that requires people to not be stupid, and to actually care, neither of which appears to be true.

Re:Used to be solved by class action (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41003159)

FTFY. If people weren't so keen to agree to those terms, I guarantee they'd be gone in a heartbeat. If the lost 75% of their customer base overnight the moment they instituted those terms, they'd be changed by the next business day.

But that requires people to not be stupid, and to actually care, neither of which appears to be true.

I assume you're living by your principles and are therefore writing your messages out on a computer at your public library, where you will soon leave in order to head over to the yurt you're using to squat on land managed by the Department of the Interior.

What was the alternative? (2)

cjc25 (1961486) | about 2 years ago | (#41002737)

They probably figured that people who don't really care would rather be listed, but were unlikely to pay for it specifically. Assuming they have to hire people/design a system to list some numbers and not others, they pushed the cost onto people who would be willing to pay. Yawn.

Why it's a monthly instead of a one-time fee, I couldn't tell you. Trying to make a continuous revenue stream out of privacy fanatics I guess.

Justification (5, Insightful)

TimHunter (174406) | about 2 years ago | (#41002743)

And how does Verizon justify such a significant fee for such an insignificant service?

Because fuck you, that's why.

Re:Justification (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41003111)

Damm right. Motto of the world now.

It's stupid? Greedy? Not needed?

Why? BECAUSE FUCK YOU THATS WHY!

dont like it?

tough shit.

Why? BECAUSE FUCK YOU THATS WHY!

Welp at least (5, Funny)

Dyinobal (1427207) | about 2 years ago | (#41002751)

Welp at least I can go to one of the many other carriers, because there is no way they would implement such a fee themselves! I'm glad competition is so fierce between wireless carriers, I always feel like I'm getting a great deal.

Re:Welp at least (0)

Skuld-Chan (302449) | about 2 years ago | (#41002855)

You say this, but have you looked around? They do stuff lock step. If Verizon can get away with charging higher prices for voice and text, AT&T/Sprint can too!

Re:Welp at least (1)

SomeJoel (1061138) | about 2 years ago | (#41002935)

You say this, but have you looked around? They do stuff lock step. If Verizon can get away with charging higher prices for voice and text, AT&T/Sprint can too!

I think you might need to re-read the GP's post. Pay special attention to the hidden sarcasm.

Re:Welp at least (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41002939)

thatwasthejoke.jpg

Re:Welp at least (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41003017)

Woosh

Re:Welp at least (1)

realityimpaired (1668397) | about 2 years ago | (#41003057)

Your sarcasm detector is broken.

Daryl Hannah for AT&T in "Crazy People" (1990) (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41002753)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dktVJ3qRGS0

Since when is an paying (1)

Stan92057 (737634) | about 2 years ago | (#41002755)

Since when is an paying for an unlisted phone number new or news? Its always been a paid for service.

Re:Since when is an paying (1)

FranTaylor (164577) | about 2 years ago | (#41002941)

They used to charge for touch tone service, too.

Just because they used to do it, doesn't make it acceptable now.

Re:Since when is an paying (1)

Keith Mickunas (460655) | about 2 years ago | (#41003055)

Here in Texas Verizon was charging for touch tone service for longer than most other companies in the rest of the US. I believe I was paying for that even after 2000. I cancelled my home phone service several years back so I don't know if they have that still or not.

They were also charging monthly for "number portability" or something like that. Basically that service they are required to provide where you can move your phone number from one service to another. Whether you move it or not, you pay monthly to have the ability to do it.

I have Verizon FiOS for TV and internet, but I pass on having a land-line. While there are numerous fees and taxes applied to FiOS, none are as blatantly a rip-off as some of those old phone fees were.

Old News (5, Interesting)

fm6 (162816) | about 2 years ago | (#41002757)

POTS vendors have always had this policy. It's stupid, but it's easy to circumvent. Since they let you publish the listing under any name you want, you make one up. When I had a landline, it was under "Gigo Hasp" (old IBM mainframe joke).

Re:Old News (1)

faedle (114018) | about 2 years ago | (#41002839)

My variant of that was to use the name "Montgomery, Bart".

Those in San Francisco will get the joke.

Re:Old News (1)

Penguinisto (415985) | about 2 years ago | (#41002925)

Sort of gives me the urge to post it under the name "FTC Field Office", just to see how many telemarketing types are either too stupid or ballsy to notice.

Re:Old News (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41002953)

VoIP DID# on the other hand are default to be unlisted. As long as you don't spoil that by asking for you old phone # to be ported. :P

no such thing as an unlisted # really (1)

Silver Surfer 1 (193024) | about 2 years ago | (#41002763)

Add all the numbers from the white pages into a data base and whats left is all of the unlisted numbers. The numbers are sequential.

Re:no such thing as an unlisted # really (2)

vux984 (928602) | about 2 years ago | (#41002857)

Add all the numbers from the white pages into a data base and whats left is all of the unlisted numbers. The numbers are sequential.

Firstly, not quite, some of those numbers are not in service.

Secondly, the primary value of an unlisted number to people who have them is that their name isn't attached to it.

NVP's Arise! (-1, Offtopic)

Penurious Penguin (2687307) | about 2 years ago | (#41002765)

Narcissistic Vulnerability Pimps [theregister.co.uk] unite! -- Lets slap these filthy, avaricious, arrogant little slatterns so hard they'll wake up hearing bells and think they're GTE again! Uhhh!

PS: see embedded link before moderating 'offtopic'. Fo Reeel yo
- Da Fancyman, and Purveyor of Hot Security Ho's, I mean Holes (U know wad I'm sayin)

Re:NVP's Arise! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41002871)

your words are like an orgasm for my ears. do you write professionaly?

Re:NVP's Arise! (0)

Penurious Penguin (2687307) | about 2 years ago | (#41002971)

Though your reply is rather offtopic, I'll only tell you that: When Fancyman wants to say somethin', he just squeezes wunna his security ho's. Got dat? Yeaah u do...

LIfe's Great Mysteries (3, Funny)

paleo2002 (1079697) | about 2 years ago | (#41002783)

Similar to the "convenience fees" many utilities, companies, and government agencies charge to conduct business via their web sites. Why does it cost money to NOT publish my phone number? Why does it cost money to renew my car registration online via an automated system instead of at a building that costs rent and overhead with a human employee? Why does it cost my bank $3 a page to mail me copies of old bank statements (and why can't they send me pdf's)?

Perhaps we've hit upon a new revenue stream. We could call it "Unservice" or "Negative Features".

Re:LIfe's Great Mysteries (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41002903)

Similar to the "convenience fees" many utilities, companies, and government agencies charge to conduct business via their web sites. Why does it cost money to NOT publish my phone number? Why does it cost money to renew my car registration online via an automated system instead of at a building that costs rent and overhead with a human employee? Why does it cost my bank $3 a page to mail me copies of old bank statements (and why can't they send me pdf's)?

Perhaps we've hit upon a new revenue stream. We could call it "Unservice" or "Negative Features".

Exactly. Hey, the Federal government just successfully sneaked past the SCOTUS a law that says you can be billed for NOT doing something.
"Unservice" is the future of the United States of America.

Re:LIfe's Great Mysteries (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41002999)

Why does it cost money to NOT publish my phone number? Why does it cost money to renew my car registration online via an automated system instead of at a building that costs rent and overhead with a human employee?

Because people pay it. That's the only reason.

Price has little relation to cost. It's about the intersection of supply and demand. There's enough demand to pay for unlisted numbers, that the supply price will be raised to meet it. That is all there is to it.

Re:LIfe's Great Mysteries (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41003117)

Customer Service
We're not satisfied until you're not satisfied

Re:LIfe's Great Mysteries (1)

realityimpaired (1668397) | about 2 years ago | (#41003199)

Why does it cost money to NOT publish my phone number?

Because they make money providing their customer lists to the people who publish phone directories, political organizations that request the list, telemarketers, etc.

Why does it cost money to renew my car registration online via an automated system instead of at a building that costs rent and overhead with a human employee?

Because the whole point of a car registration is to serve as an impediment to prevent any idiot from buying a car. Doesn't work very well, but can you imagine how bad it would be if people who couldn't scrape together $35 once a year were allowed to operate and maintain a car? It costs a lot more than $35/year to keep a car safe; oil changes alone will be at least twice that, let alone regular maintenance that isn't covered by warranty, like wheel alignments, new tires/balance, brake service, etc..... And do you really expect somebody who can't afford $35/year to be driving a new car that's under warranty?

Why does it cost my bank $3 a page to mail me copies of old bank statements (and why can't they send me pdf's)?

Because you have the wrong bank? I can get those online with my bank, in pdf format, or in searchable/downloadable csv format. They charge money to mail it out to you because it costs them money to mail it out to you.

t-mobile works along the same lines (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41002799)

unlisted phone numbers and call blocking both cost extra

Re:t-mobile works along the same lines (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41003307)

unlisted phone numbers and call blocking both cost extra

Not for me. I've got a prepaid, and they don't know who I am.

Extortion (5, Insightful)

Sqreater (895148) | about 2 years ago | (#41002813)

When you threaten to do something bad to someone, like give out their phone number, unless you are paid, you are engaging in extortion.

I'm sure there is a simple explanation (1)

StatureOfLiberty (1333335) | about 2 years ago | (#41002825)

I bet they have to pay a Verizon employee to daily verify your phone number is still on the list (can you see me now?).

Or maybe it is like the Verizon witness protection program. Your phone number will get its own case agent. Hey, this stuff costs money.

Can you tell I used to be a Verizon customer?

Otherside (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41002837)

On the one hand, this is bullshit.

On the other hand, I'll gladly pay $5/mo. Now whenever I get a junk call, I can harass Verizon about it. Why did I get this call? What will you do to prevent this in the future? When they do nothing, then we do what good Americans do, complain and sue!

Re:Otherside (1)

ColdWetDog (752185) | about 2 years ago | (#41002895)

On the one hand, this is bullshit.

On the other hand, I'll gladly pay $5/mo. Now whenever I get a junk call, I can harass Verizon about it. Why did I get this call? What will you do to prevent this in the future? When they do nothing, then we do what good Americans do, complain and sue!

It's an unlisted number, not an undialable number.

Robodialer goes 728-1234, 1235, 1236, 1237 and on and on. It doesn't care who you are. You're just another meat popsicle. Perfectly interchangeable.

Nothing new. (1)

cpu6502 (1960974) | about 2 years ago | (#41002849)

It's always been like this. The phone company (ever since the dark days of the Bell/AT&T monopoly) has always charged extra to "have an unlisted number" in the phone book. Not only is this not "new" news..... it's 60-year-old news from the era of my great-grandparents.

Hey...hey guys... (1)

Mashiki (184564) | about 2 years ago | (#41002869)

Welcome to Canada. They've been doing that to us here for decades, now you know exactly what it's like. And you get all the fringe benefits too.

Obviously (1)

PopeRatzo (965947) | about 2 years ago | (#41002905)

Clearly, the answer is to get rid of all the pesky regulations on businesses, because the free market would make every business honest.

Or something.

Re:Obviously (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41003175)

You are so right! If only we had a gigantic central planning commission that would set the prices for all these evil businesses we would have no problems whatsoever.

Flame ON! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41002949)

http://about.verizon.com/index.php/about/bios-pictures
https://www22.verizon.com/investor/bo_meettheboard.htm

Whose name? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41002989)

In the days of land lines I was reading the fine print in the phone book (remember "the phone book"?) and noticed I could list my name any way I wanted for free. ...so I put the listing under the name of my imaginary roommate. Whenever I got a call asking for Mr. Skoog I knew it was a cold sales call.

If it's unpublished, they can't monetize you (1)

tlambert (566799) | about 2 years ago | (#41003031)

They monetize a published number by publishing a directory, publishing reverse directories, publishing area directories for use in direct marketing, and so on. Forget that there are laws about these things being used to actually call you without your permission or a preexisting business relationship, since anyone who buys the drivetories from them is a business partner, and therefore entitled to call you.

What they are saying is that they are making some value $X, where $0 $X = $60 off of this process, and by asking to be unlisted, you cost them this additional profit they would otherwise be able to make by publishing your number in various ways. My guess is that on average it's pretty close to what they are charging, in order to keep it legally defensible should some consumer go lawyer-happy on them.

Re:If it's unpublished, they can't monetize you (2)

TheGratefulNet (143330) | about 2 years ago | (#41003113)

ah, I get it, now. we COST them money by asking for privacy.

its their RIGHT to monetize every thing possible. if we stand in their god-given right of way toward cashola, they get angry.

understood. thanks for the explanation.

Re:If it's unpublished, they can't monetize you (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41003263)

Exactly. It's kind of like how it would cost a computer dealer more to sell you a PC without Windows, due to the loss of crapware revenue.

Virgin media charges for callerID (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41003081)

fucking Virgin media in the UK charges me that ($5) just for caller ID display, i would hate to find out how much unlisting costs

The answer? (1)

AmazingRuss (555076) | about 2 years ago | (#41003137)

...because you, and millions like you, will pay it, because you think you can't live without a cel phone. Same as all the other weird fees.

How's this different from blackmail? (1)

petes_PoV (912422) | about 2 years ago | (#41003171)

If you don't want us to publish your information, we'll have to charge you. That sounds a lot like "If you don't want to see those pictures in the papers, it's cost $$$$". The big difference is that (at least in fiction) the blackmailer only extorts you once. Now I can see that there could possib;y be a one-off cost to removing a name from a default of "publish". But to keep charging, every month? Nah!

They Don't Charge Other Customers (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41003187)

If you ask for 'unpublished', you and the few who do ask for this share the entire cost of setting this capability up and maintaining it. Stop whining.

They make about $100 a year selling it to adverts (1)

WillAffleckUW (858324) | about 2 years ago | (#41003221)

They actually make money selling it, so that people can advertise to you.

A qualified lead is worth up to $200 a name, depending on who they are. Medical doctors and engineers names, email addresses, and phone numbers go for major bucks.

And it all lines the CEO's pocketses. Yes, precious.

Shrug.. here is what I do... (1)

gale the simple (1931540) | about 2 years ago | (#41003291)

I call and get fee reversed, but I guess I am one of the few who bother to call and bitch about it( to clarify, I mean about it where it can make a difference... not online...:P)

In case someone needs a way help in that respect, I present you.. way to get fees reversed, discounted or eliminated [blogspot.com]

Naturally, you actually need to make an effort...

And what they did to Robin... (1)

Impy the Impiuos Imp (442658) | about 2 years ago | (#41003395)

Plausible? No, it's a fraudulent lie. Maybe a $5 one-time charge, maybe. It you call a human to use a web interface for you instead of doing it yourself. However, charging to not list your number is as old as phones; this is nothing new.

Also fraudulent:

- That banks need to charge $35 overdraft fees per overdraft. This is a scam to get around usury laws -- $35 for a $1.49 overdraft would quickly get them in the pokey.

It's fraud because they lie and say it's to compensate for costs, when, in fact, it's a deliberate, core profit vector. Their business model isn't sayng, "Dammit! He OD'd!"

It's saying, "FUCK YES!!! HE OVERDRAFTED!!! OH GOD YESSS!!!"

- Credit card companies are similarly fraudulent, lying that their high interest rates are due to rational statistical risk.

The proof of a lie? Again, their business model isn't worrying people are now risky, but rather they are crossing their fingers, hoping you get into financial difficulties so they can jack up the rates so it is very difficult to pay down the principle.

Their business model hopes, and relies, on you getting into trouble. It does not worry about it, contrary to public statements to Congress. It prays for it.

Regarding the bank, I went in to complain because I overdrafted without realizing it and had over $400 in charges for about $60 in overdraft. The bank lady didn't have her bank screen turned enough and I looked on my record of it. In all caps at the top was:

DO NOT SHOW CUSTOMER THIS SCREEN

I'm pretty sure I also saw a link to how to sodomize My Little Pony, and they weren't an anti-pony group. THEY WEREN'T AN ANTI-PONY GROUP!!!

Ok, you got me. I made one of those two up.

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