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Verizon charging a $30 upgrade fee now?

Cliff_ForsterCliff_Forster Baltimore, MD Icrontian
edited Jul 2013 in Science & Tech
I'm about to rage with the mightiest fury the internet has ever witnessed!

So my wife's Droid Bionic is on it's last leg, so thankfully, upgrade day is here at last! Budget a little tight, and with the phone plan already costing an absurd amount we were not looking to get her the handset with the best possible specs, just a new shiny clean decently performing android device is ample for her. We were elated to see the Razr M offered for free. Has a better handset ever been a free upgrade? (I realize it's not free, it's a trap for a two year extension, but for us, having used other carriers, there is no substitute for the Verizon network, we are gonna play ball).

So anyway, I got to check out on the Verizon Wireless website to find out that they are going to charge us a $30 activation fee on top of our monthly bill to extend our two year term on that line? Really Verizon?

Paging Dr. @Thrax - Do you know if ordering the phone from an indirect vendor like Newegg or Wirefly get me out of that? Is it just the way it is on activation that all consumers are essentially stuck with this fee if they desire a new device? I want to do this, and all and all I don't even feel like $30 is bad for the phone, it's just a matter of principle for me. A $30 fee, in small print, for me to what? Agree to be a customer for your highly profitable business another two years?

Does anyone share the rage? I feel trapped, powerless, and that makes me ANGRY!!!

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Comments

  • JBoogalooJBoogaloo This too shall pass... Alexandria, VA Icrontian
    If you have the chance (wihtout penalties, etc...) We just gave up Verizon a month ago...Budget constraints, only one of us working right now, bill was going up 60 bucks, etc...Your Answer
    I seriously can't tell you how much better we feel after leaving Verizon and after reading what you wrote, I'm sure as hell glad we did.
  • ThraxThrax Professional Shill, Watch Slut, Mumble Hivemind Drone Austin, TX Icrontian
    Verizon doesn't support externally-purchased handsets. The perils of CDMA, and Verizon.
    JBoogaloo
  • AlexDeGruvenAlexDeGruven Not as tall as Bobby Tallbeer. Twilight Sparkle is overrated. Meechigan Icrontian
    Thrax said:

    Verizon doesn't support externally-purchased handsets. The perils of CDMA, and Verizon.

    Clarification: Verizon doesn't support externally-purchased handsets that are not Verizon-branded.

    As long as you buy a Verizon-branded phone (and it's supported on the network), you can switch to it with no issues and no fees.

    The upgrade fee has been in place for over a year now, and there's not much way of getting around it. If you go to a 3rd party retailer, sometimes they can issue a bill-credit or rebate that roughly matches the amount, but this requires a retailer that is willing to eat $30 from another part of their business to get the commission from VZW.
  • Cliff_ForsterCliff_Forster Baltimore, MD Icrontian
    Thanks gentlemen. Believe me, the desire to dump Verizon for a less costly and restrictive option is strong. With two other lines on the plan all with varying termination dates, and the fact that for 4G in our region nothing comes close, I'm compelled to just eat the $30, but I won't do it quietly. This is a non valued fee if I have ever seen one. Hey, thanks for trapping yourself another two years, that will be $30.... What?

    If there is a better racket than cable and wireless, I don't know what it is? We are all getting hosed.

  • MAGICMAGIC Doot Doot Furniture City, Michigan Icrontian
    Go to a local version store. They will bump the fee, especially if you start talking about taking your business somewhere else. Upgrading through them always tacks another 2 years onto your contract, though. So, if you do want to change providers soon and don't want to get skull f'ed with an early termination fee, I'd tought it out with her current phone.
  • AlexDeGruvenAlexDeGruven Not as tall as Bobby Tallbeer. Twilight Sparkle is overrated. Meechigan Icrontian
    MAGIC said:

    Go to a local version store. They will bump the fee, especially if you start talking about taking your business somewhere else. Upgrading through them always tacks another 2 years onto your contract, though. So, if you do want to change providers soon and don't want to get skull f'ed with an early termination fee, I'd tought it out with her current phone.

    This is mostly untrue anymore. The only REAL way to get out of an upgrade fee is to eat it in-store, then call and lie to Customer Service once the bill comes in that the in-store rep didn't tell you about it.

    Seriously. That's it. They have taken a very hard stance, and they are enforcing it because profits.

    This is a non valued fee if I have ever seen one. Hey, thanks for trapping yourself another two years, that will be $30.... What?

    Most people don't even notice, and it allows them to pad their margins on the phones without raising the advertised retail price of the phone. Pretty standard and not new to the industry.
  • Cliff_ForsterCliff_Forster Baltimore, MD Icrontian
    For giggles I challenged customer service in chat. I was polite, not going to beat up on the customer service organization for a stupid policy they had nothing to do with. I'll say, they must be dealing with some outrage because the answer was beautifully crafted. I mean, it's still bullshit, but it's a nice copy paste reply for dealing with the question. Basically, me - "Why am I being charged extra to remain your customer?"

    The reply.

    Nikki S: "This $30 is going to cover the cost of renewing activation on your new phones as well as grant you the two year pricing as compared to full retail. The one time upgrade fee is replacing a $35 fee for activating. It's also funding the construction of more cell towers across the US. By paying the fee today you're ensuring the best service possible."

    I'm fairly surprised the chat agent had a decent scripted reply. I'm not that interested in my $30, what I'd love to do is raise enough stink to change the policy. I'm going to tie a few people up at Verizon before I'm through. I'm a man of principle damn it!

    There is no way they can convince me there is a value add here when I'm already paying about $4,500 over the life of the contract (3 lines) to remain their customer.

    Like I said, it's not about me, it's not about $30, it's about right and wrong. Consumers went after the banking industry fees and gained some satisfaction. We all need to stick together and go after the telecom companies now. This is ridiculous.
  • AlexDeGruvenAlexDeGruven Not as tall as Bobby Tallbeer. Twilight Sparkle is overrated. Meechigan Icrontian
    They're never going to convince you because they don't need to. For every 1 customer that gripes, there are 10,000 who say nothing and eat the fees. The math is pretty simple.
    JBoogalooBHHammy
  • JBoogalooJBoogaloo This too shall pass... Alexandria, VA Icrontian
    I gotta agree with Alex. Besides, is putting any effort arguing right and wrong going to gain you anything? Companies like Verizon don't give a damn about right and wrong, it's about profit and profit. I really believe that these are the same people that'd sell their own mothers to Merry Maids if it meant profitability :)
  • ardichokeardichoke Icrontian
    The only thing that will actually make Verizon give a damn is if people start fleeing their service. You've already said you aren't willing to do that, so I'm afraid your cage rattling isn't likely to make a difference.
    kimono54
  • BLuKnightBLuKnight Lehi, UT Icrontian
    My wife and I were almost hit by the same fee when she was ready to upgrade from an Original Droid to the Droid 4. Where I am, there are quite a few VZW stores. Rather than rushing to upgrade, we spent a few weeks popping into nearby stores (ie, the store wasn't the primary destination, it was just nearby the place we were going to). We talked to handful of representatives until we found one that was willing to accommodate us. They still charged us the upgrade fee, however, they gave us a statement credit for the amount. In some cases, people don't have time to shop around. However, if you do have the time, patience is very often rewarded.
    kimono54Cliff_Forster
  • mertesnmertesn I am Bobby Miller Yukon, OK Icrontian
    Verizon has the second worst "early upgrader" program of the three carriers who have announced one. AT&T's is the worst. T-Mobile's still doesn't work out in your favor - you can sell your own phone and likely get more than you'll have paid.
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