Verizon to Pro-Rate Early Termination Fees

June 29th, 2006

Verizon Wireless eases FeesDenny Strigl, Verizon Wireless President and Chief Executive Officer, announced at the North American Wireless Leadership Summit that Verizon Wireless will begin pro-rating early terminal fees for customers. Verizon Wireless is the first major U.S. carrier to commit to a national policy to pro-rate the ETF. The company will include new terms in customer contracts that will progressively reduce the amount a customer has to pay if they terminate their contract with Verizon Wireless before their contract end date. The pro-rate will apply to contracts signed or renewed after the policy takes effect, and the amount owed will vary depending on the time remaining in the contract.

Strigl also outlined benefits Verizon Wireless will add to its Worry Free Guarantee for customers who pay their bills online via the company’s Web site. The additional guarantees include:

  • Customers will receive notices via e-mail if there is a price plan that better matches their usage needs.
  • To enable customers to take advantage of new technology more quickly, any customer with a $49.99 or higher price plan may upgrade their primary line handset after 12 months at the then current promotional price and conditions. The company will continue to offer a free phone upgrade every two years as it does now for all customers.
  • If a customer’s phone fails after the manufacturer’s warranty, the customer will not pay more than $50 for a replacement phone.
  • If a customer chooses, Verizon Wireless will store their phone contact list on its network—at no cost—so contacts can easily be restored when a phone is lost or stolen, or when a customer purchases a new handset.

In announcing the company’s plans to pro-rate the ETF and expand the company’s Worry Free Guarantee, Strigl noted Verizon Wireless has a track record of listening to its customers and making policy decisions based on customer needs. Verizon Wireless parted with the industry by refusing to participate in a wireless directory when customers said they didn’t want one. The company also broke from other wireless companies to support local number portability because customers wanted the freedom to take their numbers with them if they switched service providers. Strigl said Verizon Wireless is taking similar action with early termination fees, as it is an issue that increasingly is irking customers industry-wide.

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