Verizon Wireless Wants Me to Pay $30 For Being a Loyal Customer #EpicFail

Verizon Wireless logo

We’re a Verizon family. Been one for years actually. Though I have a feeling this family’s about to break up.

See, we currently belong to the triple play which includes Verizon FIOS TV, Internet and phone service. While the FIOS customer service has been pretty much less than awful since we moved into our new home (For a service call, they showed up 7 hours late, after horrific communication all day and eventually having us reschedule the appointment… only to have the technician show up at the house 15 minutes later.), I do enjoy the service itself.

Granted, the Verizon Fios Twitter and Facebook team were on the ball. They followed up and helped keep me semi-sane. It’s the phone and online service that was terrible. In the end, we got our problem fixed and I was credited $50 for my troubles. A far cry from losing an entire day of work, but at least it’s something.

But besides having the triple play, we’ve had Verizon Wireless for a real long time. Probably close to 10 years I’d say. That’s pretty loyal, right?

So how does a company, a huge mega company like Verizon, reward a super loyal customer like myself? A customer who basically has a Quadruple Play of their service (oh and both my wife and I use Verizon Wireless for our phones, so it’s a family plan too)? Yeah, they want me to pay a completely bogus $30 just for the sheer privilege of upgrading my phone.

A what what now?

Here’s the story: Allie has an iPhone 4 that’s a serious pain to use. Her home button doesn’t work, so she downloaded an app that gives a virtual home button. It works but it’s super annoying. Her contract, according to Verizon Wireless is “Eligible for a discount now!” Her 2-year contract is now on a month-to-month contract.

So I figured I’d take a look and see if I can get her a new iPhone for free or super cheap. I was happy to see I could get her a total replacement iPhone 4 for just 99 cents! Except it’s an 8GB, and she has a 16GB. Okay, so I looked at the iPhone 4S and they offer a 16GB for $49. 99. Considering that I can trade in her old iPhone for credit at Verizon, I figure that’s a pretty good deal. Even if I get only like $25 for it, that means she gets a new iPhone 4S for just $25. Not bad, right?

Wrong.

Take a look at the screenshot below. In particular, that TINY text right below the ADD TO CART button. Yeah, it says “Upgrade Fee $30.00

Screen Shot 2013-09-28 at 10.06.38 AM

That has to be a fee for people who haven’t completed their 2-year contract, right? Right? That’s what you’d think. Or I thought. Until I spent 15 minutes talking to Verizon Wireless’ customer service only to find out that even after completing your 2-year contract, you have to pay that completely bogus $30 fee to upgrade your device.

So basically, to get a new phone at a discounted price, I not only have to finish my 2-year contract and then renew for another 2 years, but I also have to pay an additional $30 on top of the fee for the new phone.

To put this simply, Verizon Wireless is rewarding its LOYAL CUSTOMERS by charging them $30 for the ability to have access to their service. I’m so disgusted by this, that I am seriously looking around to change providers. Think about it, at a minimum that’s FOUR YEARS of loyal service (2 years of a completed contract and signing on for another 2 years), and they want us to pay $30.

Really? Seriously?

I have two cell phones and an iPad on the Verizon Wireless network. Not to mention the Triple Play at home. That’s pretty big customer loyalty. Take a look at your Verizon bill and you’ll see a gazillion ludicrous extra fees and taxes. Not to mention the already pretty expensive monthly fees for phone and data services (which cost the company a fraction of what we pay). Yet they still feel the need to milk us, the consumers, for ANOTHER $30?

This fee is not just unnecessary, it’s insulting.

I don’t want to hear that other companies like AT&T do it as well. In fact, for that very reason alone, Verizon Wireless should NOT offer it, showing that they truly do care about their customers and aren’t trying to squeeze them for every penny possible.

It’s high time we stood up to these companies and refused to just pay every stupid, ludicrous fee they throw our way, all in the name of upgrading our phones. I for one, will not be paying an unnecessary $30 to upgrade Allie’s phone. Heck, even the $49.99 is a bit much considering it’s an older phone and I’m willing to sign a 2-year contract to stay on with Verizon Wireless.

As tech geeks, we might be enjoying our smart phones, but as consumers, Verizon is treating us like idiots.

Verizon Wireless sucks

Photo credit: iDownloadBlog

Are you happy with your cell phone provider?
I’d love any suggestions in terms of who I should switch to since I’m beyond fed up with Verizon Wireless!

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40 Responses
  • Ali
    July 21, 2014

    My friend when it comes to customer no service Verizon has beaten whole wireless companies . Verizon is the only company that did not honor their loyal grandfather unlimited data plans . Even AT&T has let their customers with grandfather unlimited data to keep their old plan and do upgrade when time comes . Verizon customer no service tells us after 4 years of being with them with 4 lines that we need to buy our phones out of pocket . Imagine each iphone is $700 . Every month or so they send us new shining offer to upgrade & lose our unlimited data plan . I agree with you about being disgusted by Verizon customer no service . You know after leaving comment above I realized why wont I let the Verizon know how unhappy I am . I am currently looking for a wireless company . Verizon can you hear me now before all for of us leave for good . This is my Email address that Verizon you have in your system . alisoccertx1978@gmail.com

  • Elena
    February 1, 2014

    Andrew, did you ever get anywhere with Verizon of found another company to take your phone service to? I am at a breaking point with them. After 12 yrs, this union is about to be dissolved. They are driving me crazy with their fee, unwillingness to allow me to renew my contract early only so I can get a new phone that would work without paying the full price for it.

    • Andrew Kardon
      February 2, 2014

      Hey Elana. We actually did get somewhere with Verizon. They waived the activation fee and just happened to also have a promotion that month that waived the upgrade fee, so we didn’t have to pay either. But otherwise they really wouldn’t budge. They’re just so big, they honestly couldn’t care less about a few complaining consumers.

      I suggest you complain often and loudly to their Twitter and Facebook accounts. Those had the best response. Good luck!

      • Elena
        February 2, 2014

        Thanks! I will have to harass them. Thought about leaving for another company…but in all honesty there are only a couple of big players on the market and they have about the same services and same rates. URGH! Wish it was easier to dump them just to make a point.

  • Michelle
    December 9, 2013

    I have T Mobile for partly that reason. It’s so much cheaper – for my husband and I for unlimited data and text (and 1000 monthly minutes, which is plenty), we pay $81.52 including tax. So does it drop sometimes? Yeah. Can I not get a signal when in my kids’ school building? Nope, but neither can anyone on AT&T. For that much less, I’ll handle it.

    When my contract is up in April though, I will be going to a no contract company that has the discounted rates – many aren’t 4G but for the most part I can’t tell that big a difference (Walmart’s Family Mobile is unlimited everything for $39.98 and $35.98 for additional lines with no contract, but it’s 3G T-Mobile bandwidth for example).

    But I really really really want a new phone.

    Out of curiosity, had they called it an activation fee v an upgrade fee, would you have felt the same?
    Michelle recently posted..Fit Update: Week 48 aka Top 10 Gym Locker Room Faux PasMy Profile

  • Karen D
    December 3, 2013

    That is such a fail! Part of the reason (plus the expense) that I don’t have a cell phone. Cost + cost + cost! Same with cable/satellite services.

  • B Kautz
    November 24, 2013

    Can’t believe people are still complaining about phone companies, they all suck and everyone knows it. enough said

  • Janet W.
    October 14, 2013

    We recently went to Verizon to upgrade our phones and I left with a bad taste in my mouth because my husband and I knew more about the phones than the employees did.

  • Karl
    September 30, 2013

    T-Mobile. Right now, it’s the cheapest of the major carriers.
    With them you have two options with them:
    1. Buy your phone outright and pay as you go. $50 for unlimited talk, text, data. Extras apply if you want more 4G speeds but that’s the basic package and more than enough for most folks. Easy to do if you buy a decent, but not start of the art, phone.
    2. Their 2-year contract separates the phone and the phone service. Once the price of your phone is paid off, you monthly bill drops to just the service. Cheaper in the long run. A real deal if you hold on to your phone longer than 2 years.

    TMo also added a new JUMP but that’s for people who like switching their phones often.

  • Stephanie
    September 30, 2013

    Thats just terrible. I have AT&T and have never had fees like this, heck we have even upgraded before I was at my full 2 year mark without any fees. In fact we have been so pleased that we add TWO more lines (for the kids) and those should have had fees for adding more lines but the rep was so nice that she waived them on both accounts saving us a whopping $100!

    I hope Verizon reads this post and at least does the right thing (or better).

  • HilLesha
    September 29, 2013

    That is bogus! To be perfectly honest, AT&T isn’t any better. I have been with them off and on for several years. They’re all money hungry! Once my contract is up with AT&T, I’m thinking about going back to the cheapo route, which would be Straight Talk. ~lol~
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  • Eliza Ferree
    September 29, 2013

    sorry to hear about this, I do a pay-as-you go plan because I got sick of companies trying to pull this stuff.
    Eliza Ferree recently posted..Prom Dresses from DressFirstMy Profile

  • Mandi
    September 29, 2013

    The timeliness of this article is perfect. My husband and I went into our local Verizon store because I got an email that said I’m eligible to upgrade my device. I have an iPhone 4s 32gb and I am nearly at my storage capacity. All the bells and whistles and the hoopla of the 5s has my heart going pitter patter so I went to check it out in person. I already knew that it would cost me $399 to get the new phone in a 64gb and I just wanted my husband to see the brilliance of paying that insane amount for me to upgrade. I also already knew that if I upgrade I say bye bye to my precious and coveted unlimited plan. Jerks. We too have been with Verizon since the first time I ever got a cell phone some 15 years ago. Imagine my surprise when we are rewarded for our loyalty with a bogus $30 “upgrade fee”. I didn’t even learn about that nugget until I got home and started shopping the Verizon website. Yes, I was pulling the trigger on my upgrade last night!

    That measley $30 just pushed me over the edge!

    I was ready and willing to pay that ridiculous $399 for the privilege of owning a fancy new phone. But that extra $30? Nah, you went too far Verizon. On principle alone, I am keeping my maxed out 32gb 4s and my luxurious unlimited plan and VERIZON, YOU can SUCK it! Those greedy bastards.

    • Andrew Kardon
      September 29, 2013

      Hey, Mandi. Thanks for the comment! Sounds like you went through exactly the same thing I did, only you were willing to spend a few hundred more for a way better phone. 🙂

      I still don’t know where I’m switching too. And I don’t want to lose the unlimited plan either with a new contract. I’m very much considering going with T-Mobile or possibly Virgin since they have no contract plans.

  • Samantha Gluck
    September 29, 2013

    Hi Andrew,

    What a story! Wow! We’ve been with AT&T for years (going on 7 years) and have our Internet, cable, and 2 iPhones with them. Personally, I think all of those mega companies suck in some way or another (probably in several ways), but we have been happy with AT&T. Their customer service is awesome. Granted, sometimes you have to sift through long auto-menus to get to the right place and then wait a few minutes (but always less than 5) to talk to a person, but they’ve always been right on the ball with us and taken care of problems and issues immediately. One time we needed a service technician to come out and he was here within the hour. I’m not sure if the on-premise service is different in different areas of the country, but we have had good service here.
    Samantha Gluck recently posted..7 Killer Tools for Journalists and Content MarketersMy Profile

    • Andrew Kardon
      September 29, 2013

      The sucky thing, though, Samantha, is that AT&T has an upgrade fee too! And there’s is even more than Verizon’s. I think it’s like $36.

  • Jenn @TheRebelChick
    September 29, 2013

    AT&T does the same thing, but I think it’s $35. I don’t know why phone companies make it more cost-effective for you to LEAVE their service and go elsewhere! It’s ridiculous!
    Jenn @TheRebelChick recently posted..Eco-Friendly Tips for a Greener Home & Green Works Games on Pinterest!My Profile

  • Jayne
    September 29, 2013

    We just switched from Straight Talk to Sprint. For our needs, it was the best choice.
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  • Katherine Bartlett
    September 29, 2013

    That is totally ridiculous! I had Verizon for a while and I ended up canceling them too because their fees were insane even back in 2008!
    Katherine Bartlett recently posted..Say Hello to Mighty WingsMy Profile

  • Sara Phillips
    September 28, 2013

    We have Sprint (and have for about 12 years) and I LOVE THEM, but our monthly rate keeps going up and I am really ready to reconsider.

    I am not sure why these companies don’t think about the pay as you go phones as competitors now. You can get pretty decent phones through those companies and the coverage is what you want for the price you want to pay.

    Sorry Verizon is being an ass!
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  • Kelly @ A Girl Worth Saving
    September 28, 2013

    It’s sad that companies don’t feel like it’s necessary to take care of their good customers. Perhaps enough people will leave Verizon and they will realize this.
    Kelly @ A Girl Worth Saving recently posted..Chocolate Covered Cake Doughnut Recipe – Paleo, Gluten-FreeMy Profile

  • Kim L
    September 28, 2013

    I’m with you on this one. This is the very reason I don’t have a cel phone. I got by without one all my life and I’m not willing to sell my soul to the devil to have one. I know this is extreme for most, but I feel so Free!!!! I think the cel phone industry has been using and abusing it’s customers for years, and until we take a stand against them they are not going to change. BTW, I do have a landline and it meets my families needs just fine. Good luck with finding a new service.

  • Billie
    September 28, 2013

    Additional charges are awful. I do know that with Sprint, they charge $36 and it’s an activation fee for the new phone when you upgrade.
    Billie recently posted..Fisher Price I Can Play Basketball GiveawayMy Profile

  • Kenda
    September 28, 2013

    I’m sure I could commiserate on other wireless complaints, but this one doesn’t bother me. We’ve been with Verizon for about 14 years and we pay much less monthly compared to the same plans on AT&T or Sprint. So I’m willing to pay $30 every two years in exchange for saving over $1500.

    • Andrew Kardon
      September 29, 2013

      How are you saving $1500? And yes I know prices are discounted, but it’s the entire principle of me having to pay $30 just for the privilege of signing a new 2-year contract with them that ticks me off most.

      • Kenda
        September 29, 2013

        I did an op not long ago where I had to compare my plan across several networks. For the data, minutes, text & number of lines we have — Verizon is approx. $1500 cheaper (over 2 years) than AT&T or Sprint. T-Mobile unlimited is the cheapest by far, but they also have very limited service areas. I tried T-Mobile for a few months because we were told we live in one of the ‘best’ signal areas. I could never get more than 2 bars at home. I get full signal with Verizon. So we stay.
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        • Kenda
          September 29, 2013

          p.s. The op was NOT for Verizon.

        • Andrew Kardon
          September 29, 2013

          Interesting. But seriously? It’s that much cheaper? Is that counting Verizon’s Unlimited Data Plan, which I’ll be losing if I have to upgrade to a new 2-year contract?

          • Kenda
            September 30, 2013

            That’s 3 lines and counting still having low rate unlimited data compared to what we’d pay through other companies (those that offer it, AT&T does not so overages will cost even more). We just skip the upgrade and buy a phone when needed. We may spend a few hundred every few years on a phone (teen buys his own, I buy used with warranty, etc), but the money we save on the actual plan it worth it.
            Kenda recently posted..Sale Price Hiking at JCPenney and Kohl’sMy Profile

      • Alex
        January 8, 2014

        Please get over yourself, over $30….. Then go to AT&T and Sprint where the coverage/support is worse and where the upgrade fee’s are $36. Verizon does keep the upgrade fee competitive and its a necessary cost that helps maintain a lot of free services. What a waste of a post…….

        • Andrew Kardon
          January 8, 2014

          Thanks so much for the kind words, Alex. And I’m sorry, but you’re missing the point here. I don’t care if it’s $5, $30 or $500… this is a 100% unnecessary fee. Verizon already charges you a $40 ACTIVATION FEE. I can live with that (even though that’s lame too), but to add a bogus $30 fee on top of that simply for the sheer privilege of being able to buy a new phone, that’s pretty pathetic.

          And just because they’re “competitive’ with AT&T and Sprint doesn’t mean it’s right. They ALL should stop charging an upgrade fee. I don’t know who did it first, but as soon as someone does, and nobody says anything, every other major provider will jump on board. If we, the customers, don’t complain, nothing will ever change.

          Apparently you enjoy shelling out money blindly to cell phone companies, believing it’s a necessary cost to help maintain a lot of “free” services. I’m real curious what all these free services are, since my cell phone bill is already sky high because I have to pay for a data plan, along with loads of other things.

  • Cat Davis | Food Family & Finds
    September 28, 2013

    We actually just switched to Verizon Wireless service a few months ago after being with AT&T for a long time. It’s ridiculous that these companies tack on charges for what looks like to me, no apparent reason other than to dip into our pockets.
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  • Kisa
    September 28, 2013

    I’ve been with Verizon wireless 6 years now, that’s THREE 2 year terms, I’m not upgrading to a ‘newer’ phone because I’m not paying that much more for a phone! I have an iPhone 4, sure.. but it’s a 32GB model. It works just fine. I’m not bothering to renew my contract, I’ll deal with month to month until I find something better.
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