In a move that could spark industry-wide change, Verizon is doubling its early termination fee - to $350 - making it more expensive for customers to bailout on their two-year contracts with the carrier.
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Under the new agreement, which will be used for new contracts beginning Nov. 15, someone terminating in month 23 of a 24-month agreement would still owe a $110 termination fee, according to a short item today in Boy Genius Report.
BGR quotes a Verizon document that explains the new fee:
"Beginning 11/15/09, customers purchasing an Advanced Device with a 1 or 2 year service agreement will be subject to an ETF of up to $350 if they disconnect service prior to completing the minimum term. The $350 ETF will decrease by $10 for each month of service completed."
It is not immediately clear what "advanced devices" Verizon is referring to, though the term sounds suspiciously Droid-y.
In Verizon's defense, the new fee seems aimed at people who purchase a new phone, cancel their service, pay the current $175 ETF, and resell the phone at a profit on eBay. While I can't blame them for attacking that abuse, actually charging someone $110 to leave a contract with just a month remaining is clearly over the top.
Hopefully, Verizon will collect the new fee on a selective basis to handle abuse situations.
(By the way, ETFs are just one of the sneaky ways wireless companies get money from their customers).
This story, "Verizon to Double Wireless Early Termination Fee" was originally published by PCWorld.