Last fall I added a line to our Verizon family plan for our exchange student. I requested the shortest contract period available, 1 year. I called verizon today to check on the exact contract term so that I could plan to terminate that line.
It turns out that on June 20th 2007 when I upgraded our family plan for more minutes, that automatically extended our contract term for ALL OUR PHONE LINES for 24 months. That means June 2009!! The early termination fee for canceling a line is $175.
I said this extension was not disclosed to me. The CSR said I clicked through an agreement and disclosure when I made the upgrade on the website. (probably so).
Nonetheless, I persisted. I asked to speak to a supervisor. She refused. I insisted she terminate my line without a fee. She said she was unable. I repeated my request. Over and over. She repeated her inability to do so. Finally, I said ‘you will not be able to serve any other customers until you resolve this with me’. She then put me on hold for a supervisor.
While I was on hold (for a very long time,) I googled the issue. Turns out this is a common practice in the cell phone business. I was preparing my arguments, chiefly that its just not fair to penalize me for increasing my business with them.
Finally the CSR came back on the line and reported her supervisor had authorized her to credit the early termination fee for the telephone line.
I got further info. Our eligibility for phone upgrade discounts is not affected by the service contract extension. If I choose to terminate all our service, there is a separate termination fee for each line.
Actually, I’ve been pretty happy with our Verizon service, so I’m pleased this worked out ok. But cell consumers beware – this is a common practice:
If you find that you’ve miscalculated your usage, you can easily change your rate plan, although that will likely result in an extension of your contract. –cnet.com cellphone buyers guide
It might not seem right but it is how they do business. Cell phone companies can extend your contract without you ever signing anything. Say you call up your cell phone company and you ask for more minutes or just an address to mail a check. You might find your contract has just been extended another two years. – MSNBC report