Thursday, March 31, 2016

Verizon to charge a new $20 upgrade fee, even if you pay full price upfront for it

The "upgrade fee" has always been one of the shadiest aspects of the wireless industry. Providers like Verizon and AT&T charge $40 and $15 respectively for customers buying new smartphones under contract or through upgrade plans like Next — in addition to the phone's cost and your monthly data plan. But Verizon is taking things to a new, terrible level, according to MacRumors. Beginning April 4th, Verizon will charge a $20 upgrade fee even for customers buying a device outright / paying full price. So even if you're handing Verizon $800 for an iPhone 6S or a Galaxy S7 Edge, they'll still empty your pockets for another $20. That's pretty ludicrous.

Oh but it gets even worse, my friends. The new fee will also apply if you're paying for a device with monthly financing or buying an iPhone at the Apple Store through Apple's iPhone Upgrade program. That's right; you can buy a phone from a company that's not Verizon Wireless, and still be charged the upgrade fee. In that scenario, the fee will appear on your next bill. As of Monday, the only way to avoid paying an upgrade fee will be to bring your own device.

How does Verizon justify such a mysterious, gross-feeling charge? "We are implementing an upgrade fee to help cover our increasing support costs associated with customers switching their devices," reads the memo obtained by MacRumors. Yeah, okay. I'd love to see the numbers on just how much of an inconvenience device switching is for Verizon, the most successful mobile provider in the United States. Something tells me T-Mobile CEO John Legere will latch onto this as yet another reason to slam his company's larger rival.

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