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Verizon Trying to Justify New Charges

Is anyone ever completely happy with Verizon? There’s no doubt customers love the service. They get more bars in more places, so the quality is unparalleled. But the customer service? Not a high point.

While the company has made changes in hopes of creating inroads to more customer-positive experiences, a recent announcement puts the company in danger of taking two steps back to counter its recent hard fought step forward.

Verizon Will Charge $20 to Upgrade Phones

According to recent reports, Verizon will start charging customers $20 to upgrade their phones. According to the announcement, the fee will be assessed no matter how a customer gets a new phone. Buy it, pay the fee. Sign up for a payment play, pay the fee. Upgrade through Apple, pay the fee. So…but a new device and pay even more for it.

How, exactly, does Verizon plan to justify this move? The company says people are swapping out their phones too frequently, causing “higher processing costs” for the company.

As perhaps the worst olive branch in the history of Verizon’s long sad history of bad customer service is the offer for customers to trade in their old phones to offset the fee. Of course, people do that anyway, for cash or account credit. Now they will just be getting $20 less … how is that a benefit again?

How to Skirt the $20 Fee

But perhaps the strangest aspect of this scenario is when the fee won’t apply. If a customer buys a new phone from another retailer – think Best Buy or Amazon – they won’t have to pay the extra fee. It only applies if you upgrade through your current account.

So, the only way not to get dinged is to not be a Verizon customer or to add a phone onto an account where you already have another phone. Basically, don’t buy your phone at the Verizon store? How does this make any sense at all? Either the customer is inconvenienced or Verizon loses money? Sure, they’re betting most people will still buy at the store, choosing to pay $20 rather than be inconvenienced.

Is It Worth the Inconvenience?

They’re probably right, but you can bet that won’t sit well with Verizon customers just itching for a reason to find another carrier who actually makes their customers feel like they care.

Roman Temkin is a real estate developer from NYC.

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