November 2, 2009
Verizon: Best network, worst attitude.
So I’ve been
pretty much insanely stoked for getting the Droid smartphone that’s coming out on Verizon this Friday. I’ll be ordering it Thursday at midnight online, and can’t wait to receive it Saturday or Monday through FedEx. If you’re interested and want to see more info on the phone, check out the links at the end of this post. It’s a brand new Motorola, featuring the as yet unreleased Google Android 2.0 operating system, built in GPS Navigation for your car, as well as a 5MP camera and (obviously) all the built in Google apps functionality you’ve come to expect in Google’s Android.
Of course, since the release of the iPhone, I’ve wanted a phone that could do, well, everything the iPhone could. I love Apple products and would have paid the ridiculous amount of money it costs in a heartbeat, had I not known how terrible the AT&T network is. I knew I didn’t want to deal with that, so I made due with what Verizon offered and never switched. There was just no way I could justify paying more for less quality service. A couple weeks back though, info started to leak about Motorola’s Droid, which was set to launch November 6. It looked like a legitimate iPhone competitor, and my geek self got VERY excited. Frankly, I still am super excited about the phone. The problem though, is that Verizon, knowing it has the best network, and more importantly that it has its customers more or less against the ropes, is, well, being kind of a jerk.
Today, this news broke: Verizon looking to bump early termination fee to $350 on ‘advanced’ devices. Now let’s get one thing straight, both myself and my family have been insanely loyal Verizon Wireless customers for many, many, MANY years. Our primary concern is being able to get in touch with each other, as we all live in different parts of the country. Not so much how we get in touch. Thus, we chose network over phones. Verizon though, has never been the greatest carrier in terms of customer service or satisfaction based on things besides the network coverage. Yes, the phones have (until now) always sucked. But they also constantly seem to be adding fees, not letting go of others, or forcing you to upgrade to more expensive plans because old ones are no longer being supported. As far as I’m concerned, this is all ridiculous. But alas, we’ve put up with it.
Now though, literally less than 48 hours before paying to upgrade to the Droid on its launch date, giving Verizon both my dollars and launch day appearance to brag about (assuming a whole ton of others also buy on launch day,) Verizon decides to change their Early Termination Fee (ETF) cost. ETFs, to begin with, are ridiculous. They lock you in to a carrier, and while you’ll earn $10 month off of your ETF during the course of your contract, even if you cancel on the last day of your contract, you’ll pay $120! I understand a relatively low ECF, in order to help stop people from buying up phones that have been heavily subsidized by Verizon and then flipping them on eBay and canceling their contracts, but $350?? I’ve never flipped a phone, and never will. Why am I paying extra if I want to legitimately cancel my contract, when I’ve never had any intention of adding to the problem that this fee tries to solve?
One thing I must not overlook though, is that Verizon Wireless has not specifically stated what qualifies as an “Advanced Device.” I’m making the assumption that anything labeled a smartphone is advanced, however it is possible that by “Advanced Device” they mean the increasingly popular netbook computer. If this is the case, I still believe the ETF is far too high (as is anything over $240, frankly, as that could be paid off over 24 months at $10 a month,) but at least in that case you’re talking about a full-fledged computer.
Regardless, I’m urging people to really consider writing/emailing Verizon or your congressman to let them know this kind of price gouging is unacceptable. As consumer we are in a vulnerable position today. We need these devices for our everyday life, and Verizon knows that. They increase fees and prices not to cover costs, but to boost profits. We need to be represented and Verizon, along with all wireless carriers, need to be kept in check.
Email your representative here! Tell them the wireless companies are treating consumers unfairly, and something needs to be done now! We need their help!
Contact the FCC here! Any member is fine! Remind them: It’s their job to protect us from the wireless carriers, and to keep their power in check!
Contact Verizon Wireless here!
Contact AT&T Wireless here!
Contact T-Mobile here!
Contact Sprint here!
You can send letters, email, call or anything from most of these links! Tell them their rate and fee increases aren’t okay, and we won’t stand for it! Let them know we will constantly search for low cost, high quality carriers and will switch to them when we find them. Tell them we are contacting our Congressman and the FCC to make fundamental changes to the way the wireless industry works!
Contact the Better Business Bureau here to let other consumers know about the unfair practices wireless carriers are using!