Verizon: Die Fighting In Afghanistan, Pay $350 Early Termination Fee

After a woman’s husband died in Afghanistan, a marine felled by an IED, she moved back to her home town to be closer to her family and grieve. In the smaller town, she couldn’t get any reception from Verizon, so she called them up to cancel. Despite being a widow and Verizon not living up to its contractual obligations to provide actual cellphone coverage, they slapped her with a $350 early termination fee. UPDATE: Verizon Retreats From Charging Marine Widow $350 Early Termination Fee

If you don’t have any coverage, you’re supposed to be able to break your contract without penalty, but customer service reportedly told the widow “Nothing could be done” about the fee. Reached by CBS13, Verizon’s PR department promised to look into it.

If you don’t have a reporter calling the PR department for you, here’s 6 ways to break out of your cellphone contract without paying an early termination fee.

Marine Widow Battles Verizon Over Cancellation Fee [CBS13] (Thanks to Andrea!)

Comments

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  1. Clyde Barrow says:

    Ahhh greedy American companies. Some things never change.

  2. socritic says:

    wow. was on my way to a Verizon store this afternoon to switch! not any more. To a Widow? shame shame.

  3. peebozi says:

    this is the free market at work. this is why our soldiers are fighting…so corporations can continue purchasing our politicians. if you’re against verizon then you’re against the free market and capitalism. why do you hate america?

    • DidIDoThat says:

      The Sailors and Soldiers Act should protect the widow againist this. She just happened to come across a very poorly trained CSR.

      • Azzizzi says:

        This is what I was thinking.

      • GuyGuidoEyesSteveDaveâ„¢ says:

        What portion covers someone moving and having to pay an EFT? I mean, this isn’t the husbands cell phone, it is the wife’s. I’m not trying to be obtuse, but in what I have read of the Service Member Civil Relief act, and it mostly seems to things like evictions, foreclosures, etc…

      • thisistobehelpful says:

        I don’t believe it covers dependents. In fact, from personal experience with it from the dependent side, it tends to function as prevention against the dependents doing anything without the service member’s consent. Even divorce!

        On top of that she’s no longer related to the military very very shortly after he dies. Depending on his contract she’ll get his death benefit, a free trip out of base housing and that’s about it. She’ll likely lose the awesome healthcare and any other help since he wasn’t drawing pension by the time he died.

    • RvLeshrac says:

      Don’t laugh too hard. A co-worker of mine just said “She’s retarded. Anyone with any sense would’ve asked for a manager,” and went on to indicate that this is entirely her fault.

      So, yeah. There are people who can say this without a hint of sarcasm.

    • DFManno says:

      Because their music sucks.

  4. pgh9fan1 says:

    “…here’s 6 ways to break out of your cellphone contract without paying an early termination fee.”

    Sorry, but “here’s” is incorrect. Next time try this: Here are 6 ways to break out…”

  5. Smashville says:

    Please note that the headline does not accurately describe the situation at all.

    Take all the heartstrings stuff out of it. It really has nothing to do with the situation.

    The fact of the matter is that she has moved to an area that Verizon does not provide coverage and they are trying to nail her with an ETF. The fact that she’s a war widow has nothing to do with it.

    • blogger X says:

      “After a woman’s husband died in Afghanistan, a marine felled by an IED, she moved back to her home town to be closer to her family and grieve.”

      Did you miss this part?

      • YarpVark says:

        The title is inaccurate garbage.

        She moved, she called to cancel, ETF. Would it be nice if they dropped it, due to the circumstances? Yes. Did they refuse to remove the ETF for a dead soldier? No.

      • Smashville says:

        Would you care to explain how that makes it different from if someone got a job in a different city and moved there and they didn’t have service? Or if her husband had died in a car wreck or she had gotten a divorce? The reason she moved has nothing to do with the fact that she shouldn’t be charged an ETF. She shouldn’t be charged an ETF because she’s not in a service area, not because her husband died.

      • GuyGuidoEyesSteveDaveâ„¢ says:

        Was it HIS account? No. So while I applaud him for serving his country, and am sorry he lost his life, and sorry she lost her husband, the fact of the matter is that it doesn’t matter how he died. If he had committed suicide or died of an aneurysm swimming, she is still closing her account.

        The only thing I would like to know is if there is no cell coverage to her area, or coverage that is not very good. And yes, I read the article, but there is a difference between perceived “no coverage” and actual no coverage.

      • yzerman says:

        That’s her decision, so if my mother dies and I move home to take care of my dad, and Verizon doesn’t provide coverage at his house in the middle of no where, why should Verizon cut me any slack?

        Don’t get me wrong this guy that died is a dead solider who fought for this country but his death didn’t FORCE her to move, it was her decision to move.

        Yes compassion is needed but I can’t blame Verizon for saying no to her as compassion isn’t written into contracts.

      • Pryde987 says:

        You fell for the trick. The reporter put in a bunch of superfluous information that does not matter and your heart melted.

        She should pay the ETF. I’ll be upset if Verizon backs off on this one.

        • SharadaThyestes says:

          Why on earth would you be upset if Verizon decided to show a little compassion (and a little good PR?)

          • DanRydell says:

            Probably because the media is trying to guilt Verizon into losing money for the sake of ratings for the TV station. It’s not cool for the media to exploit this woman.

      • ghostberry says:

        I guess in that case they should suspended her mortgage, cancel her gym membership etc because she was sad and wanted to move. She got a crap deal in life from a dead husband in a pointless war, how many other people get dealt a bad hand and have to eat it?

    • yzerman says:

      I have to agree with smashville. Taking the sad fact she lost her husband out of it there is no reason she should not have to pay for the ETF. She signed the contract and shes moving to some place where the signal isn’t very good. It has zero to do directly with a solider dying.

      Now if the story was about Verizon charging her husband the ETF even though he was dead then this would be more of a true issue / story for the consumerist.

      There is no shame in this or greed on Verizon’s part. She is the one breaking the contract for no reason and she should have to pay the ETF.

    • Tracer Bullet says:

      If she moves outside of where verizon can provide service, she shouldn’t have to pay any fees period. People move, it’s a fact of life. They can’t hold you hostage if they can’t provide you service where you are at.

      • Smashville says:

        Yeah, but it has nothing to do with death certificates or what her husband did for a living.

      • DanRydell says:

        You understand that the ETF covers the phone subsidy that you would have paid back over the life of the contract, right? Verizon takes a loss on the phone. Why should Verizon take a loss if you decide to move? When did they guarantee you coverage wherever you live and wherever you COULD live in the future?

        • shukaide says:

          Do you really believe this?
          If so, why don’t they drop my service plan rates as soon as my 2-year contract is over if I’m still using my old phone? And wouldn’t a more fair way of calculating an ETF be just letting you ‘buy out’ the remaining cost of your phone instead of an arbitrary $350?
          You know, Congress is also investigating wireless companies’ claims that the ETFs actually cover the cost of the phone subsidy.
          It seems a bit naive to buy their “subsidy” line without much questioning…

          • PandoraCamel says:

            It’s actually false. The ETF doesn’t cover the subsidy, it covers the collateral used in gaining loans from banks.

            “We have 10 million customers each with a ETF of 350$, so we’re good for a 3.5 billion dollar loan” , when “nice” csr’s start refunding the ETF on compassion reasons, they’re shown the door.

      • kujospam says:

        If the contract says that you are not able to move then it says so, otherwise if it doesn’t talk about it at all. If you move out of the area, it is your action that is causing you not to get coverage, not verizons. If you cut the antenna off your phone and you can’t get coverage, should you get out of that too? Come on now, it’s common sense. If you don’t like it, don’t sign up for it, or offer to have the contract changed.

    • Shadowman615 says:

      I think the problem, if the consumerist article is describing it correctly, is not that they don’t provide coverage — it’s that they “supposedly” provide coverage there but she can’t get any reception in that area.

    • kingofmars says:

      The title is inaccurate, but edits to posts sometimes take a long time to show up. Ben may have already corrected the title, but it make take hours before you see a change

      • Smashville says:

        That wouldn’t change the rest of the story, though…which is attempting to somehow attach her husband’s death to an unrelated cellphone contract. It’s a cheap attempt at ratings by the news station linked here. The fact that her husband is dead has absolutely nothing to do with the ETF.

        • Bob says:

          I think it’s as fair as fair gets with two wrongs.

          Verizon will not provide service to her new location and is hitting her with early termination fee by some sort of loophole, or not, in the Verizon terms of service.

          She decides to call the reporters and the reporters try to shame Verizon into addressing this and make ratings.

          I don’t care if Verizon made it “legal” by sneaking in a obfuscating clause to the terms of services by some method that was . They deserve bad PR for applying early termination fee for providing no service to her. The additional, and deserved, PR damage is just icing on the cake.

      • DanRydell says:

        Why would he correct the title? He picked it for a reason. Doesn’t matter that it’s not accurate.

    • mac-phisto says:

      got it. but you know what i don’t get? how did this policy change & we missed it? i know most (if not all) cell companies were allowing cancellation for moving to a no-service area. & i know verizon was one of those companies b/c i was successful in escaping an ETF myself w/ them about 4 years ago.

      related consumerist threads of proof:
      http://consumerist.com/2009/09/video-ditch-your-cell-phone-contract-for-free.html
      http://consumerist.com/2007/06/6-ways-to-cancel-any-cellphone-so-you-can-get-an-iphone.html
      http://consumerist.com/2006/08/update-cancel-verizon-by-moving-to-cambodia.html
      http://consumerist.com/2006/08/cancel-verzion-by-moving-to-cambodia.html

      maybe it’s time to ramp up support for this again: http://consumerist.com/2008/05/to-avoid-billions-in-lawsuits-cellphone-companies-propose-tepid-early-termination-fee-reform.html

  6. jdmba says:

    Yet another disappointingly deceptive heading. I swear this stuff didn’t happen when Consumerist was not owned by a corporation.

    They did not refuse to refund the termination fee of the dead soldier (as indicated by the headline), they refused to refund the termination fee of a woman who decided to move to a new location that did not have service.

    • JollyJumjuck says:

      Right, she decided to move to a new location because she lost her husband, and wanted to be closer to her family to grieve. Gosh, how selfish of her! Never mind that poor Verizon tried so hard to provide cell phone coverage to her new location but it just couldn’t be done! No one ever thinks of the big guy in these situations! That insensitive clod of a woman should be charged at least *double* the termination fee!

      • yzerman says:

        No she should pay the fee on the contract she signed up for and agreed to. If she didn’t want to deal with a ETF if something like this happened she should have bought the phone out right in case she had to move.

        This is just bad luck for her.

      • Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

        Verizon have no legal obligation to waive the fee for a widow. Yes, how terrible of them!! How inhuman!!

        Well, think of who is processing the ETF. Some minimum wage bum who processes 100 of these a day and has heard 5,000 Sally Sob Stories since he started there. It’s not his job to interpret the Verizon contract for each individual. It’s his job, to do his job.

        • Tom Foolery says:

          And very likely your wage slave phone drone has no authority to waive the fee regardless of circumstances….

      • Randell says:

        Well in reality should she be allowed to stop paying her mortgage because her husband died? Should she stop paying her credit card? Was she shocked that sometimes soldiers die in war? Verizon didn’t force anything upon her. She married somebody who was in an occupation where there was a higher risk of death. This is basically the entire “the world revolves around me” mentality. The reason for her move was her own personal reason, and should not matter to Verizon. Imagine how many sob stories will now come if Verizon changes their mind. Boo hoo, I lost my job, boo hoo, my dog died, boo hoo I had the shits so I had to move.

        • shibblegritz says:

          “Was she shocked that sometimes soldiers die in war?”

          In with you in principle … but don’t be so damn heartless and inhuman, man. Yes, I can say with a fair amount of certainty that she was shocked that the man she loved, that she probably hoped to spend the rest of her days on this earth with, is now gone. I don’t care how prepared you are, how strong you think you are, that realization is still going to be shocking.

          As to the specific point of the article, I agree with other commenters who wonder if she should be allowed to stop paying her mortgage or rent, and all of her other bills because her husband died.

          That being said, the decent … the human … and the most PR friendly … thing for Verizon to do would have been to offer the lady your condolences, cancel her account without charge and bid her peace. And it’s likely what will happen, in this case and in the future now that someone other than a $30,000 a year call center manager is aware of this kind of issue.

    • WagTheDog says:

      I saw the story on my local news last night. I thought to myself, well if it was me, I would either pay the fee or live with the phone. I certainly would not think of complaining to the local media. To be honest, I had a Verizon phone in her new neighborhood for some time, and the coverage wasn’t any worse than you get with the iPhone.

    • DanRydell says:

      Agree. The article is inaccurate as well, Verizon is not contractually obligated to provide service at her new home.

      She moved. There are costs associated with moving, and among those costs are often early termination fees for various services. The reason she had to move was unfortunate, but part of the purpose of death benefits is to cover costs associated with the death. This is one of those costs.

      If it was her husband’s phone, then I would be criticizing Verizon.

    • incident_man says:

      And she moved because her husband died! If he were still alive, she might not have. Verizon needs to do the right thing (and the human thing) here and let her out of the contract without the ETF. When are corporations going to learn that they need to do what’s ethical and not just what’s legal? There are always exceptions to the rules.

  7. Putts says:

    Completely sensationalist and inaccurate headline. There was an early termination fee involved, and I believe that Verizon wrongly charged the fee, but it had nothing to do with the person who died. Shame on you, Consumerist.

  8. justjoe says:

    Verizon’s PR will take care of it, but the original CSR was correct. If it was her husband’s phone, VZW would cancel the line and waive the ETF with minimal hassle (maybe mail a death certificate or something). But it is HER phone and SHE moved to a no/poor-coverage area it is HER responsibility to honor the agreement.

    • Bob says:

      Er…with my original AT&T contract. No provable service, no ETF. I believe Verizon used to have the same thing until recently.

      Also you can be 10000000% in the legal right and still get heckled and boycotted. I don’t want to hear anymore about “poor Verizon, she won’t live up to her contract”. If they value holding her to the contract then they should say so and deal with the PR aftermath. If they value new business and good PR then cancel her ETF and be done with that. That is simply a cost of business. Deal with it pro-business drones!

  9. hills says:

    There’s no doubt that her husband was an honorable person, but being a widow and moving out of your service area doesn’t give anyone a free pass to get out of contracts, cell phone or otherwise. I’ve driven through Copperopolis & that place is in the middle of nowhere – that’s the main problem. As much as I’d like to hate on the big corporation, calling them “unpatriotic” isn’t fair. Honestly, if I had just lost my husband I would think I’d have bigger things to worry about than getting out of my cell phone contract.

    • johnperkins21 says:

      How is there no doubt that her husband was honorable? Just because he was a soldier? That’s faulty logic. It’s entirely possible that he was quite dishonorable.

      • radio1 says:

        The guy could have been a dick yes. But the guy served his country and got killed for it- that makes him honorable.

  10. Commenter24 says:

    Her personal circumstances are irrelevant to the matter. She chose to terminate the contract, thus she is bound to the terms (the ETF). She doesn’t get a pass because she’s (clearly) going through some tough times right now.

    • Dover says:

      Moving to an area with no signal has always been a good reason to waive the ETF. It’s technically not required, but it is a common practice for all major carriers.

      • Commenter24 says:

        “Technically not required?” It’s either a valid, legal reason to terminate the contract or it isn’t. The fact that some carriers voluntarily agree to terminate the contract because of it doesn’t create a binding obligation to do so.

        • RvLeshrac says:

          If they’re not providing service to you, and not willing to provide service to you, that’s a material breach of contract.

          • Commenter24 says:

            Not when the reason they cannot provide service is due to a choice made by the other party. It’s like contracting with a guy to paint your house, then locking the fence around your property so he can’t get to the house, and then suing him for not painting the house.

            • coren says:

              No, it’s like that guy then charging you for the service he didn’t provide then also trying to charge you when you tell him you don’t want service anymroe either.

  11. Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

    So, when I read this, I expected the deceased to be charged an ETF, not the surviving widow.

    Two VERY different issues.

  12. ElleAnn says:

    I lived in Calaveras County, CA for two summers, and I didn’t get cell phone reception. At the time (2003-2004), I don’t think that any cell phones, regardless of the company, got reception there due to the terrain. I had Cingular, and they let me switch to a $10 a month plan that cost $0.75 a minute- so I could keep the phone to use in case I had a road emergency or really needed to get in touch with someone and I was in a place with reception. I think I used less than 5 minutes all summer. It was better than being completely without a phone.

  13. SkokieGuy says:

    Headlines that wouldn’t be inaccurate:

    Verizon wants $350 EFT, even though widow gets no reception.

    No reception? Pay our EFT anyhow.

    Verizon continues to suck.

    Commentators? I’m sure y’all can do much better.

  14. Acth says:

    So if I’m following this correctly….. in order to avoid the ETF, she’s supposed to pay them every month for a service she isn’t receiving? I demand you all pay me $5 for not mowing your lawn….

    • DanRydell says:

      They’re still providing the service – wherever their coverage map says they provide service. It’s not their fault she moved to a place where she doesn’t get reception.

      To use your lawnmowing analogy, this is like a landscaper giving you a free lawnmower on the condition that you pay him $5 a week to come to your house and mow your lawn. Additionally, you promise that if you stop using his services within two years, you’ll pay him back for the lawnmower. You decide to move hundreds of miles away and take the lawnmower with you. Why should he still have to cover the cost of the lawnmower? You agreed to pay him back if you ever stopped using his services. It’s not his fault that you moved too far away to utilize his service.

  15. Dallas_shopper says:

    Ugh, outrageous. Disgusting.

    • RyansChestHair says:

      For what? This woman voluntarily moved to an area without coverage. This story has NOTHING to do with a death. This woman made the voluntary choice to move and to do so without properly checking to see if there was Verizon coverage in that area. I see nothing “disgusting” about it. Verizon is not doing anything wrong. This woman on the other hand…..

    • DanRydell says:

      I know, right? The headline disgusts me… because it completely misrepresented the article.

  16. scoccaro says:

    Its $350, its a lot of money, but I know if I had grieving to do after my husband died, I would just pay it to make it go away. I would think she has bigger problems right now.

    • Watcher95 says:

      Not to be callous, as a dependent spouse of a service member she is due quite a bit of money designed to help offset costs like these.

      First, she should have received the $100K tax free death gratuity which often is arranged within 24 hours.

      Secondly, the standard Servicemen’s Group Life Insurgence payment is $400K, unless he chose the lesser amount which, to tell you the truth, is a pain in the ass do do and stupid.

      So, in the end she should be getting half a million in cash plus 6 months of military housing benefits.

  17. Watcher95 says:

    As a recently retired military member of over 23 years, this sensationalist headline sickens me.

    Sure the whole situation is sad, but to cast the story in such an inaccurate light is irresponsible.

  18. Big Mama Pain says:

    Getting out of bad cell service and avoiding the ETF with Verizon is a pain. They are supposed to wave the ETF for military if moving is required and cell service sucks, but it takes like two months of very diligent follow up to get it done. First a service worker has to go out and determine that yes, the coverage sucks; then they have to attempt to make the coverage not suck. Then the service worker has to sign off on something saying it sucks. Then you have to make sure that paper actually gets somewhere and that you are in fact out of your contract. Then they put the ETF on your next bill, hoping you’ll be stupid enough to pay for it, and you have smack them on the nose with a rolled up newspaper and go “NO!”.

    I think having to move because your husband was KIA falls under this; it just takes a lot of patience. We also were told nothing could be done about the ETF; but after some wrangling it got done.

  19. headhot says:

    You know, instead of going through various channels to get it resolved, I would call Verizon on the phone, send a letter, and if I still haven’t received satisfaction, take them to court. I think most judges would be very sympathetic in this case and use it as an opportunity to rape Verizon.

    • Smashville says:

      Go to court under what premise?

      • Commenter24 says:

        On the premise that her moving voluntarily made it impossible for Verizon to perform its obligations under the contract. Doesn’t that make sense to everyone (*read in sarcastic tone).

  20. montusama says:

    From reading various comments and the story:
    It seems the family is trying to get out of paying the ETF by using the death of her late husband since he served his country. As for her not having any signal on her phone, I just checked the coverage map and other than a small white spot, its all red.

    I’m fairly certain if you are outside of your carriers wireless coverage then they can’t charge you an ETF. Even if it was YOUR decision to move out to the middle of no where, they still can’t charge you it.

    I’m assuming 350 in ETF is for both her line and his. Verizon shouldn’t charge his line an ETF as he is dead, whether or not he died for his country.

  21. SharadaThyestes says:

    I understand the underlying truth that voiding the contract rests more upon whether or not the holder can receive cell coverage at her new location; however, I find it depressing that human/corporate compassion does not play more of a role because we all know there is wiggle room with customer service. Frankly, we’re fighting a war that has little effect on the public as a whole, but is putting a terrible burden on the military and their families, e.g., I think this is the only war we’ve ever fought where taxes were cut instead of raised to pay for the conflict. Between multiple deployments, horrific closed head injuries, PTSD, and deaths, any compassion and support given to these families is well done.

    • Randell says:

      Were any of these service members forced to join? I submit that if fewer people joined the killing industry that these types of unnecessary wars would not be fought. The politicians would never have the balls to utilize a draft for this war. I submit any person joining the military is an enabler for war.

  22. BuyerOfGoods3 says:

    well…They could ask her for a death certificate – but do you know how long that’s going to take? To have a Policy set up for this would be ideal; But they are in it to make money, not have long-term customers…

    • SharadaThyestes says:

      The Marine Corp (or Navy?) will have assigned a uniformed liaison to help the widow navigate the admin side of the military system (insurance, etc.) so some type of official documentation could probably be produced fairly quickly.

    • GuyGuidoEyesSteveDaveâ„¢ says:

      So what deaths of non-contract members are covered under your policy? Children, spouses, parents, grand parents, aunts, siblings, pets, in-laws, roomates, etc…? How do you judge/confirm the relationship of the deceased and the account holder? How do you confirm the death certificate is valid? Does the manner of death count?

      The point is: death of someone else is not a valid excuse to cancel your contract.

    • RyansChestHair says:

      The account was in HER name. Why would she need a death certificate? Her Verizon account has NOTHING to do with her deceased husband.

  23. Ben_Q2 says:

    Yes I did go to law school and yes I did get out of my AT&T phone. How?

    I had a plan that I was given me a roll over of close to what I was paying for. When I lived in Big Bear Lake (part time, I was doing work up there), I could use it. For 3 years AT&T had give me over 25 months free. I had also had the same number since 2000. They cannot charge you for something that you cannot use. I did not live in Big Bear, I lived in the city below it. The story is longer but in the end I talk to their people and told them I would take this to court. The lawyer at 1st say go for it, I told me with 25 free months do you think I would lose or win? I also told him if I go, I will be asking for court cost, he said go for it. I won.

    • shanelee24 says:

      uhhh, you went to law school and your english is this spotty? please tell me you were here on a student visa, and english isnt your first language. and ill also point out that i dont believe you for a second.

  24. RyansChestHair says:

    The headline is incorrect and misleading. The death has NOTHING to do with her phone service.

  25. RyansChestHair says:

    The headline is incorrect and misleading. The death has NOTHING to do with her phone service.

  26. The_IT_Crone says:

    Wow she’s trying to get her status as a war widow to get out of the contract, and is using the media’s heartstrings to do it. Bad form.

  27. MrHacks says:

    Could be worse. AT&T’s ETF is about $500 now.

  28. cmhbob says:

    By the way, “marine” in this usage is supposed to be capitalized.

  29. lmbrownmail says:

    If you read the article you’ll see that it didn’t say Verizon’s PR department promised to look into it. It said that Verizon had resolved the problem – two very different scenarios. I would assume from the article that her phone has now been terminated with no ETF. Don’t make Verizon out to be worse than they are.

    • GuyGuidoEyesSteveDaveâ„¢ says:

      If you read the article linked to yesterday, before they changed it on their site, you would have seen that what is stated in the Consumerist article was correct.

  30. lmbrownmail says:

    If you read the article you’ll see that it doesn’t say Verizon’s PR department promised to look into it. It says that the problem was resolved, which I take to mean that her service was terminated with no ETF. So not only is the headline of the post a bit misleading, so was the ending argument. Pay attention, Ben.

  31. ghostberry says:

    Can we quit with the bogus headlines? She didnt die in Afghanistan!

  32. devilsadvocate says:

    I’m sorry but it’s not clear, did she move to a city that is not a part of Verizons coverage map?

    Or does she have a legitimate complaint about the quality of the service in an area that is supposed to have coverage?

  33. PandoraCamel says:

    The fact that she’s a window has nothing to do with it. If the phone is in her name, that’s not her responsibility not her dead husbands.

    The “military service”/”death” exemptions apply only to the person named on the account. Since her husband is now dead, it’s kinda hard to change responsibility of the account over to him and then get out of it.

    Her only option is selling the contract if she doesn’t want to get hit with the ETF. Moving outside of the service area is rarely a legitimate excuse due to cross-carrier agreements. It’s extremely doubtful she had “no service.” She could also stick the phone on the lowest plan there is if it’s cheaper than the ETF and then just never use the phone.

    If she was on a GSM carrier, she could at least give the carrier the finger by forcing the phone to only operate in roaming mode (eg on AT&T but use T-mobile’s towers) so they call her to cancel it if she was on a national no-roaming type of plan.

  34. actuatedpoodle says:

    I’m a Verizon user that got banned from Verizon’s user forums awhile ago from posting Consumerist links. Hopefully they lost a few potential customers before that happened.

  35. Peggee is deeply offended by impetulant, pernicious little snots disrespecting her and violating her personal space at Best Buy. says:

    How is it relevant that the customer is the widow of a soldier? Verizon shouldn’t be denying ANYONE the right to cancel if they can’t get coverage. I consider Verizon among the top greedy companies for practices like these, but please leave the war out of it. Some of the wives/mothers/girlfriends in my area think they’re entitled to everything from free restaurant meals to not having to wait in line at Six Flags just because “My husband/son/fiance is over there fighting for you!” It makes me sick. My husband would be horrified if I tried to translate his sacrifices into currency or leverage in an argument.

  36. pot_roast says:

    We moved to an area where Verizon could not provide coverage. We placed call after call after call and opened probably a dozen trouble tickets at which point they said too much time had elapsed and there was nothing that they could do. They kept trying to get us to buy new phones and blaming the existing phones we had. (THREE phones by different manufacturers, NONE of which had any coverage, and somehow it’s our fault?)
    Two and a half years later, we’re *still* dealing with their 3x $175 termination fees mysteriously appearing on my wife’s credit report from different junk debt buyers working on behalf of Verizon Wireless. One of which we’re about to sue. All over the ETF that they said they would waive in the situation this OP is also stuck in. Fact is, they usually won’t. They will do anything they can to stick you with that ETF.

    Verizon Wireless is a scum entity that feeds off of muck flaking off of AT&T. I will never do business with them again and I laugh at the idiots that think a Verizon iPhone is going to be some sort of magical unicorn ride.

  37. BobOblah says:

    If she happens to move to a non-service area, she shouldn’t be held responsible for the ETF. I did this with Telus (a Canadian company) a while ago when I moved across country. Sure, they offered exactly my service in a small (four block radius) neighbourhood in Toronto, but I moved to Hamilton. 3 year contract: poof. No ETF. No questions.
    I moved back 3 weeks later, but that’s Hamilton’s fault. What a craphole.

  38. Happy Tinfoil Cat says:

    I thought the headline said her husband was terminated early.

    -sorry, had to go there