April 12, 2012, 8:30 AM —
Starting on April 22 2012, Verizon Wireless will have a new way of thanking you for being a loyal customer: charging you $30 for the privilege of buying a new phone from them.
Here's how it works. Existing users who are ready to buy a new phone with a new two year contract will be subject to a $30 upgrade fee. New customers won't be hit with this fee. So effectively phones will cost $30 more for existing customers than they will for new customers.
The best part is Verizon's justification:
This fee will help us continue to provide customers with the level of service and support they have come to expect which includes Wireless Workshops, online educational tools, and consultations with experts who provide advice and guidance on devices that are more sophisticated than ever.
They suggest using their trade-in program to get a few bucks from your old phone in order to offset this new fee.
I've been a Verizon Wireless customer for many years. I'm told that other carriers have a similar fee and that in the case of AT&T and Sprint it's even larger ($36). I'm outraged by this fee on Verizon and I'll happily be outraged on your behalf if you're on another carrier that has been charging this kind of upgrade fee for some time. Why didn't you scream bloody murder when they instituted it? (Or maybe you did and I wasn't listening.)
Here's an idea, Verizon. Why not just charge for Wireless Workshops, online educational tools and consultations with experts instead of asking those of us who know what we want to subsidize the education of your other customers?
Sounds to me like the thing to do going forward is just switch carriers every two years so that you're always a new customer. Get a Google Voice number and give that out instead of the number the carrier assigns you.
We've had a long run together, Verizon Wireless, but when my contract is up I'll be going with AT&T. I'll see you again in another two years because I'm not paying AT&T their upgrade fee, either!
Read more of Peter Smith's TechnoFile blog and follow the latest IT news at ITworld. Follow Peter on Twitter at @pasmith. For the latest IT news, analysis and how-tos, follow ITworld on Twitter and Facebook.