Verizon Succumbs to Peer Pressure, Starts Charging $30 Phone Upgrade Fee

Paul Lilly

Wireless carriers have a tendency to roll out the red carpet for new subscribers, but once you're part of the family, well, don't expect to receive special treatment. Highlighting this observation is the fact that Verizon Wireless is getting ready to implement a $30 upgrade fee for existing customers who upgrade to a shiny new subsidized smartphone with a renewed two-year service agreement. Apparently 24 months of data fees is no longer good enough.

VZW claims the $30 charge will help it to "provide customers with the level of service and support they have come to expect which includes Wireless Workshops, online educational tools, and consultations with experts who provide advice and guidance on devices that are more sophisticated than ever."

To be fair, this isn't unique to VZW, which is actually the last of the major U.S. carriers to implement one. T-Mobile charges $18 for the privilege, and both Sprint and AT&T charge a $36 upgrade fee, AT&T having recently doubled the charge from $18.

In other words, there's little-to-no chance VZW will reverse course the way it did with the proposed $2 "convenience charge" for one-time bill payments using a debit or credit card online or by phone.

The upgrade fee will go into effect starting April 22, 2012, so if you're eligible for and contemplating a contract renewal, now is the time to do it.

Image Credit: Flickr (Ian P. Miller)

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