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Verizon Wireless Will Charge Customers $2/Month to Pay Their Bill; Admin Fees Also Increasing

Phillip Dampier December 29, 2011 Consumer News, Editorial & Site News, Public Policy & Gov't, Verizon, Wireless Broadband 6 Comments

Verizon Wireless has tucked some unpleasant news into their “change of terms” notices buried on the back pages of your monthly bill.

Effective Jan. 12, the wireless carrier will charge a $2 “convenience fee” when paying by phone or through Verizon’s website.  Only customers enrolled in autopay, authorize an electronic check payment, or who still mail a check to the phone company every month will escape the new bill padding fee.

Most likely impacted are customers who make their payment at the last minute or face disconnection over an overdue bill if they don’t authorize a partial payment immediately.  Verizon says the new fee will defray the costs of accepting online and phone payments, but considering an automated attendant usually handles pay-by-phone bill payments, the costs to Verizon are likely far less than the revenue the company stands to earn from the new fee.

Verizon Wireless’ “administrative fee” is also increasing, effective Jan. 1:

Notice Of Administrative Charge Increase
Effective 1/1/2012, the monthly Verizon Wireless Administrative Charge
for voice and email plans will increase from $0.83 to $0.99 per line for all
eligible customers. The charge for Mobile Broadband customers will
remain at $.06. For information regarding this charge, call
1-888-684-1888. Please consult your Customer Agreement for
information about rate changes.

More money in Verizon's pocket

While we used to indicate these changes were enough to allow customers to escape their two-year contracts under the “materially adverse” clause in the company’s subscriber agreement, Verizon considers that loophole effectively closed with the current terms and conditions made effective this past September:

What Charges Are Set by Verizon Wireless?
You agree to pay all access, usage and other charges that you or the user of your wireless device incurred. For Postpay Service, our charges also include Federal Universal Service, Regulatory and Administrative Charges, and we may also include other charges related to our governmental costs. We set these charges; they aren’t taxes, they aren’t required by law, they are not necessarily related to anything the government does, they are kept by us in whole or in part, and the amounts and what they pay for may change.

However, nobody says you have to agree to pay them.  If you call or write Verizon Wireless before 1/1/12 and tell them you do not agree to pay the increased fee and consider it materially adverse and grounds for terminating your service, customer service representatives have been authorized to refund the difference between the old and new administrative fee for the remainder of your two-year contract (or a straight $5 courtesy credit in some instances).

Stop the Cap! recommends using autopay for your monthly Verizon bill, and if you are in the habit of paying your credit card bill in full every month, associate your Verizon account with a credit card that offers a rewards program.  With cell bills routinely running $100 or more, earning something extra from a cashback or airline miles card is better than nothing.  Just make sure you don’t run a balance.  The interest rate charged on most rewards cards is well in excess of the value of the reward.

Tired of the gouging?  You can e-mail Verizon Wireless’ executive customer service team and let them know what you think:

[email protected]
[email protected]
[email protected]
[email protected]

Then tell the FCC, your two senators, and member of Congress.

Currently there are 6 comments on this Article:

  1. Andrew Madigan says:

    The last time they raised their junk fees I tried cancelling my service. Despite a lot of fighting I still ended up paying the full $75 ETF. At one point a supervisor even admitted to me that as far as Verizon is concerned, they can raise those fees as high as they want and still require a customer to pay them (as per the contract). That means, at least as far as that supervisor was concerned, they could raise one of their junk fees to $50/month, and give customers the choice of paying the fee or paying the ETF.

    I’ll never do business with Verizon again (neither Verizon Wireless or Verizon). I also switched to pre-paid, on Virgin Mobile. $35/mo for an Android is a lot better than $90/mo for an Android.

    Given Verizon’s interpretation of their contract, I don’t see why anyone would enter a contract with them. They can change the charges at any time, and the customer’s only recourse is to cancel their service and pay a significant fee for doing so.

  2. Brett says:

    According to their Customer Agreement they still state “Can Verizon Wireless Change This Agreement or My Service?

    We may change prices or any other term of your Service or this agreement at any time,but we’ll provide notice first, including written notice if you have Postpay Service. If you use your Service after the change takes effect, that means you’re accepting the change. If you’re a Postpay customer and a change to your Plan or this agreement has a material adverse effect on you, you can cancel the line of Service that has been affected within 60 days of receiving the notice with no Early Termination Fee”

    • Elaine says:

      I cannot find this:

      “According to their Customer Agreement they still state “Can Verizon Wireless Change This Agreement or My Service?

      We may change prices or any other term of your Service or this agreement at any time,but we’ll provide notice first, including written notice if you have Postpay Service. If you use your Service after the change takes effect, that means you’re accepting the change. If you’re a Postpay customer and a change to your Plan or this agreement has a material adverse effect on you, you can cancel the line of Service that has been affected within 60 days of receiving the notice with no Early Termination Fee””

      Can you provide a link so I can do a page print?

      Thanks

  3. PreventCAPS says:

    Verizon backtracks on $2 fee after customer outrage:

    Verizon said it was making the decision based on customer input after many consumers spoke out about the fee on the company’s online forum, with some threatening to leave the service as a result.

    The Verizon Wireless turn-around came after the U.S. Federal Communications Commission said it was “concerned” about the fee and vowed to look into it.

    http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/12/30/us-verizon-fcc-idUSTRE7BT13I20111230

    • Scott says:

      I believe Sprint has a $5 fee that’s similar.

      If the FCC is going to “look into” anything it should be all the hidden/junk fees beyond government fees and taxes that get added onto consumers bills beyond their agreed upon monthly plan. Where your $79/mo plan somehow ends up running $98/mo after all the additional fees which most salespeople cannot or will not disclose at the time of purchase, nor is it disclosed in advertising.

      I find it misleading that companies can and do advertise plans for [x] amount only to jack your monthly rate up another 20% or so with junk fees in your final bill.

  4. Ashley says:

    I have just come across your site and I have to say THANK YOU. Thank you for making other consumers aware of the large companies and their capitalistic motives. Average consumers are being screwed over while these jerkoff’s are taking our money and getting richer. Not only are these executives making a signficicant amount of money they hire RUDE employees. I also have to thank you because with your website it is making consumers aware of their rights. It is us who are paying for they large lofts and family vacations.

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