I Don't Want To Give Up My Droid X For Forced Switch To AT&T

Nick is one of the current Verizon customers whose contract has been transferred to AT&T due to Verizon’s acquisition of Alltel. He writes that he would be okay with this if AT&T actually offered a phone comparable to his current Droid X, and if he didn’t have to pay $200 for the sort-of-comparable phone they’re offering, the Samsung Captivate.

First, let’s review what AT&T told their soon-to-be customers about how the changeover will affect them.

Q. Will I need a different phone due to the transition to AT&T?

A. During the transition period, you should continue using your current phone or data device. However, in advance of your service transitioning to AT&T, we will contact you and provide you with a choice of phones and data devices, comparable to what you have today, at no additional cost.

New, comparable phone, at no additional cost to you. Got it. Now, here’s Nick’s e-mail.

I got an email today about choosing my new phones for the new AT&T service we will soon have here in Michigan. While AT&T is calling my options “comparable”, I’d say they are anything but. I have a DroidX. AT&T is telling me my recommended “comparable” phone is the HTC Aria. Even their best Android phone, the Samsung Captivate, doesn’t have the resolution of my DroidX. I purchased the DroidX because of the size of its screen, the resolution of said screen, the 8mp camera and the ability to shoot HD video at 720p and the large standard memory. I personally feel it’s the best android phone available without a physical keyboard (which I didn’t want).

I feel that at the very least, AT&T should be required to offer me the Captivate for free, but they want $199 for it. I already paid $299 for the DroidX and I’m not in a position to pay another $199 for a phone which is almost-but not quite- as good as my DroidX. The [Android] phones they are willing to give me for free have smaller screens, lower screen resolution, lower camera resolution, less memory, fewer available accessories and certainly no HD video. I’m not even sure they have full html browsers.

I have yet to call AT&T about this, because I’m 90% sure I won’t get anywhere. Do I have any options? Has anyone else fought this fight successfully? Do you or your readers have suggestions? I suppose the worst case scenario is that I get the HTC Aria for free and use it for communicating but keep my DroidX for pictures, video and web browsing over wifi networks.

Is it fair that Nick, and other smartphone customers, have to pay $200 when the carrier change wasn’t their idea?

PREVIOUSLY:
Alltel Merger Forces Verizon Customer To Have AT&T… What?

Comments

Edit Your Comment

  1. TuxthePenguin says:

    Speaking on a purely contract law basis… why doesn’t he simply cancel his service and move to somewhere else? Key terms of the contract are changing (namely, who is providing service – both parties have to agree to a novation) and to continue the contract you are required to purchase something else. I’m darn sure that isn’t in the agreement.

    Cancel. Take your phone to whomever can handle it.

    • BuyerOfGoods3 says:

      Have you ever tried to cancel a cell phone contract early? ETF ring a bell? Early Termination Fee. Since he is still technically an Alltell (Verizon purchased, now AT&T) contract customer, he must wait until his contract is up – if he wishes to cancel with no financial backlash.

      IMO: Dude sounds WAY too into his phone. I’m not that uptight about my phone, so no advice from me.

      • minjche says:

        The article says he’s a Verizon customer. The linked article about the Alltel aquisition says that in order for the aquisition to happen, Verizon had to give some of its contracts to AT&T.

        I get the impression he’s a bonafide Verizon customer (especially since he has the Droid X, which is only offered to Verizon customers) that is being transferred to AT&T.

        • JayPhat says:

          No, he was an Alltell customer. Verizon acquired them. Per the fedds, they were required to give some of those customers to AT&T.

          I don’t see why he doesn’t just cancel the AT&T contract and argue his way out of the ETF due to a physical change to his service that his contract SHOULD let him out of. Then go over and start a brand new service with Verizon. Oh, and you already have a phone, no contract needed, you could go month to month.

          • SerenityDan says:

            No, he was a Verizon customer, otherwise he would not have had a DroidX.

            • Shadowfax says:

              The real question is why Verizon isn’t shifting the non-smartphone users over instead of the people who went to Verizon specifically because they carry the Motodroid line of phones.

              • miss_j_bean says:

                As far as I can tell, whether or not a person was switched is dependent on region or at least that’s how it is where I live. Everyone in the county I live in was “switched” so to keep verizon they have to have a billing address that’s not here. We are now billed through my in-law’s address 3 hours away and if we need to do anything in person we have to drive to the next county over (30-45 min drive average).

                • lesleyhoenig says:

                  The determination is based on your address on a specific day, I changed my address, but apparently too little too late because I’m still being forced to switch.

          • minjche says:

            Sorry but the Droid X alone shows you’re wrong.

            The Verizon acquisition of Alltel was completed January 9, 2009. The Droid X was released only on Verizon’s network on July 15, 2010.

            http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alltel#Mergers_and_acquisitions
            http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Motorola_Droid_X

            The first sentence of the article states he’s a current Verizon customer and links to an article that explains how Verizon had to give some of its own contracts (not limited to just the contracts acquired from Alltel) to AT&T.

            • SBR249 says:

              I think you misunderstood. I believe the deal specified that Verizon has to transfer some contract customers to AT&T, but it doesn’t say that those contract customers have to be former-alltel customers that they acquired in the merger. They just need to give AT&T some of their combined customer base regardless of which company they were originally from before the merger.

              Thus Verizon could (and probably did) choose to give away customers in not so profitable areas such as those where smartphone adoption rates are not so high.

              And before you argue that they should have just retained those smartphone customers, I’d speculate that they probably needed to do it geographically instead of on a per subscriber basis.

              • minjche says:

                I think you misunderstood my comment.

                I pointed out “Verizon had to give some of its own contracts (not limited to just the contracts acquired from Alltel) to AT&T.”, which is exactly what you’re saying, that Verizon gave away some portion of its own contracts and possibly some portion of its newly acquired Alltel contracts.

                In essence you restated what I said in a different way.

                And I wasn’t making or planning on making a point about retaining smartphone customers specifically so I can’t help you there.

          • lesleyhoenig says:

            JayPhat, there are VERIZON customers being forced to switch. I’ve NEVER been an alltel customer, and am being forced to switch. It’s because I happen to be in a locale where verizon has decided they want to keep the alltel assets rather than the verizon ones (probably because alltel is the predominant provider here, and I’ve been with verizon since before moving here). So you are wrong to assume all people being forced to switch are alltel customers, because there are bona fide verizon customers being forced to switch. It is happening because of the merger of verizon and alltel, but it doesn’t mean it’s only alltel customers being affected.

      • apple420 says:

        I know if AT&T forced me to switch to Verizon one day and I could no longer use my iPhone I’d be annoyed. Though I may learn to like the alternatives, if they offered me something comparable.

      • obits3 says:

        You are wrong. Droid X is CDMA. AT&T phones are GSM. That is a material change if I have ever seen one. By changing from CDMA to GSM, his provider is stopping CDMA service to his phone. I have satellite radio to my car. If they changed thier broadcasting signal so that I would need a new receiver, they would be in breach of contract and owe me a refund (I pre-pay).

      • Back to waiting, but I did get a cute dragon ear cuff says:

        Changing of carrier and requirement for a new phone sound like material changes to the contract where you can cancel without an ETF.

      • Necoras says:

        Being switched from Verizon to AT&T and having to use a new phone is almost certainly a “materially adverse change.” I’d be shocked if he couldn’t get out of the contract without paying an ETF.

      • common_sense84 says:

        Wow, this info used to be the weekly story on the consumerist.

        ETFs aren’t enforceable when their is any change to the contract that is bad for the customer. A raise in text messaging rates allows you to cancel without the ETF.

        This is a HUGE change. He definitely can drop the contract without paying an ETF or any fee for the phone if it was subsidized. I find it strange that anyone would resign up with AT&T rather than walk away with their CDMA phone and sign back up with verizon.

        • lesleyhoenig says:

          Common Sense, who do you need to talk to at verizon to make this happen? I REALLY want to make this happen without paying even the stupid $35 restocking fee to ATT, but the last time I talked to verizon they just said there was nothing they can do. I’m seriously on the verge of suing verizon, att and the DOJ to get an injunction on this.

      • Nick says:

        No, actually, I’m not technically an Alltel customer. I signed up directly with Verizon in 2008. I’ve never been an Alltel customer. And I’ve just sent in an email update on my experience calling AT&T. With any luck, others will find the information helpful.

        And yes, I am in fact WAY into my phone. So what? I paid for it and I want to keep it.

        • lesleyhoenig says:

          Nick I’m in the same position as you and can’t blame you for being too into your phone. The situation is stupid. I can see how it would make sense to do this with alltel customers, but why long standing Verizon customers? I’ve been with verizon since 2001, I didn’t sign up for verizon in Mid Michigan, but rather Illinois, it is stupid.

    • minjche says:

      Even if he can’t break the contract, can he ETF and sign up for Verizon’s service month-to-month (as in no contract)?

      He’d pay a comparable amount to what he’d pay for the Captivate and end up without a contract to tie him down.

      It’s not a “best case” because he has to pay extra, though.

    • wickedpixel says:

      He should just change his billing address to one outside of the area being switched (family? friend?) then re-sign up with Verizon.

      • lesleyhoenig says:

        I already Changed my address to a neighboring county that is outside the effected area, it is too late, they base it on your address of the time the sale was completed, not after the fact (as stupid as this is, because the majority of the time I’ve been with verizon I did not live in the affected area)

  2. minjche says:

    It was my understanding that Android itself has a full HTML browser, so any Android phone would have that feature. That makes me question this guy’s story a little, but otherwise he’s getting a raw deal.

    • aperture_kubi says:

      Here’s a link to a comparison between the DroidX and the two best android phones on ATT.
      http://www.google.com/phone/compare/?phone=droid-x-by-motorola&phone=samsung-captivate-a-galaxy-s-phone&phone=sony-ericsson-xperia-x10
      He’s kinda right, hardware wise (other than RAM) the Experia compares to the DroidX, except it comes with 1.6 instead of 2.2.
      The Captivate comes out ahead because of that but I still believe he should get some kind of additional discount because he is being forced to buy a new phone in what is essentially mid-contract.

      • minjche says:

        That’s a good link, thanks.

        I’m just saying that to say one Android phone has a full HTML browser and another Android phone doesn’t is akin to saying if you buy a Toshiba laptop you can install Microsoft Word but if you buy a Dell laptop you can’t.

        The browser is software, and it’s included as part of the Android OS (along with an App store capable of delivering other full HTML browsers). The hardware is absolutely different, yes, so your experience with using the browser will be different (big vs. small screen).

        • tmac40 says:

          The problem is it is like trading in your Mac Book Pro and receiving a Dell Netbook and calling comparable. Yes they are both android phones, but if they force you to stop using one top of the line phone they should give you another one, not the most basic android device they offer.

          • minjche says:

            Oh absolutley! I said in my original comment that he’s getting a raw deal. I’d already be on the phone trying to get out of my contract if I were in his shoes.

            I just found it funny that he specifically mentioned “full html browsers” so I commented on that, too.

            • Nick says:

              That was purely my ignorance regarding the included browser. I am of course fully aware that I can download Dolphin or something regardless of what comes with the phone. But still… why state ‘full html’ on the Captivate’s page and only green check mark on the Aria’s page?

              • minjche says:

                Because it’s like marketing a car by saying it comes with 4 wheels included. AFAIK Blackberry is the only smartphone left that ships with a shitty browser (from experience, it’s like “almost” full HTML).

      • minjche says:

        Here’s the Samsung Captivate product page, which specifically lists a “Full HTML Browser”.

        http://www.samsung.com/us/mobile/cell-phones/SGH-I897ZKAATT-features

        • Nick says:

          That was exactly why I said that in my original message.. the Aria’s page does not so indicate.. hence my confusion. Thanks for pointing that out.

      • drizzt380 says:

        The fact that these phones have better specs than my current computer make me a sad panda.

        Its not even most ways. Its every way. Damn thing doesn’t even have USB 2.0

        • kc2idf says:

          I’ve got a Pentium Pro you can upgrade to just for the asking . . .

          I kid, of course. I’ve only used AMD processors prior to a few years ago.

          I’ll shut up now.

        • gparlett says:

          the worst thing about using a computer with USB 1.0 is that every time you plug in a USB 2.0 device Windows XP reminds you that ‘this device will work faster if connected to a USB 2.0 port’. Really XP? Really? Why, I didn’t know.

          Why can’t XP figure out that I have no USB 2.0 ports and just shut up about it.

          • kc2idf says:

            What’s . . . Win-dows?

            Wait, I remember, that’s that operating system I stopped using in . . . oh, gee, must have been 1997 or so. That thing still around?

    • grucifer says:

      But he’s talking about the screen size. Droid X > Aria therefore for web browsing purposes the Droid X would be the better option.

      • minjche says:

        I disagree. I don’t see his statement about “full html browsers” as a reference to screen size at all. He mentions screen size in another part of his statement.

        With cell phones, a reference to “full html browser” is a comparison between whether the phone is capable of displaying a web page with full support for HTML, much like what you see on a computer. Phones without a full HTML browser can only display mobile web, which is a largely crippled, downgraded version of web pages (and some pages can’t be displayed at all).

    • fundelman says:

      This is what ruined the whole article for me. I couldn’t think about anything except the fact that “full html browser” at this point is equivalent to 0g trans fat on a package: big whoop, every almost every smartphone has a “full html browser” just as it goes without saying that most foods don’t have trans fat. Unfortunately the odd package these days that doesn’t proclaim itself trans-fat free automatically becomes suspect.

    • GrandizerGo says:

      You need to get an Android phone then and learn the differences…
      The phones they are offering are a generation OR MORE behind what he has now.
      The fact that some of them only have Android 1.6 on them when there has been 2.1 and his current 2.2 should tell you something.
      The fact that the screen resolution is far inferior should tell you something as well. It would be akin to someone walking into your house and telling you that because the cable in your neighborhood has been brought out by an inferior company, you might as well go back to a CRT screen as your HDTV is not compatible with this service.
      I do not find anything “suspicious” with his story one bit, the charts prove that his phone is superior to the phones they are offering him in exchange.

      Laugh at them and tell them where to stick it. There are other services that can handle your droidx as is.

      • minjche says:

        I have an Android phone (bit of a gadget lover) so I know the differences just fine thanks. Please don’t make assumptions such as that.

        He wasn’t sure if all of the involved phones had a full HTML browser, but since they all run Android (regardless of the version), they all have that feature. My questioning of his story was mostly in regards to a need for doing your research before taking action (such as submitting a story to Consumerist).

        I pointed out he’s getting a raw deal. I didn’t make any comparison on screen resolution so I can’t help you there.

  3. SweetJustice says:

    Switch to Verizon.

  4. obits3 says:

    This is not fair. While I am an android supporter, I think that you should try to get them to give you the new iPhone (considering that the Droid X and the iPhone 4 both came out at about the same time). Are there any other CDMA carriers that you could flash your Droid X to work on thier network?

  5. Mr. Spy says:

    “I have yet to call AT&T about this, because I’m 90% sure I won’t get anywhere”
    Nick… call and fail before complaining. In fact, do it twice. Then in person at their store. Then complain to consumerist. What is he complaining about here? That he didn’t even contact ATT and that they are screwing him? You have to at least give them the opportunity to try.

    • pecan 3.14159265 says:

      I’m tired of people not trying before they start complaining to the internets. What the heck are we supposed to do about it if the person having the problem hasn’t even bothered to do his work and try to solve his own problem?

    • peebozi says:

      Yes, he should definitely be required to waste his time prior to airing his feelings out to someone other than the corporation he has a problem with.

      I would only ask him to wait another month or two until att and verizon are done counting their money…it’s only fair that he not cause any loss to their profits.

      • pecan 3.14159265 says:

        No, it’s not wasting his time. AT&T stated that it would not charge customers for a comparable phone, and the OP is saying otherwise. Furthermore, the OP asks “Do I have any options? Has anyone else fought this fight successfully? Do you or your readers have suggestions?” – he’s asking for help, but he hasn’t bothered to help himself.

        My suggestion is to first talk to AT&T and get some clarification on why he’s going to be charged for something that AT&T said it would not charge for, and if AT&T stonewalls him, then come to Consumerist to ask for more suggestions.

        Before Consumerist, we had to pick up the phone to solve the problems ourselves. Just because there’s a useful tool to get help doesn’t mean it eliminates the responsibility of trying to solve the problem yourself first.

        • common_sense84 says:

          Yes, he has the option of walking away with his phone and signing up with verizon. No ETF can be charged.

          This used to be a weekly story on the consumerist. Almost any change the contract results in you being able to walk away without an ETF fee.

          This change being extremely huge means no one is automatically switched to AT&T. AT&T is most likely acting like those magazine subscriptions where they send you a free magazine and a fake bill that makes it seem like you have to pay it.

          Anyone who does not specifically resign up with AT&T will automatically get their service dropped. AT&T would get their ass sued if they tried to mail people a new phone and start billing them even if they never activate the phone or use the service.

        • cheezfri says:

          I probably would have done the same thing (asking for help BEFORE I call AT&T). I absolutely dread having to call customer service of any kind for anything; they are always so unhelpful. Especially AT&T. Perhaps the OP was wondering if anyone had already called and gotten a satisfactory resolution, which he could THEN arm himself with when he contacted AT&T.

          If we’re gonna start blaming the OP for things, then maybe Consumerist shouldn’t post any complaints unless the OP fires off an EECB, a letter to their congressman and the Supreme Court first, huh?

  6. apple420 says:

    He needs to contact AT&T and convince them to offer a better phone. No way is the Aria comparable to the Droid X. At least not similar enough, and I don’t even know much about Android phones myself. Maybe he can get out of the contract without an ETF?

    • anarkie says:

      The Aria is NOTHING in comparrison to the Droid X. WAY Smaller screen, much lower res, processor is almost 1/2 of the speed, almost no on board RAM/ROM in comparrison, and a much crappier camera.

      I have a Droid X. I wouldn’t trade it for ANY phone on the market today. I’d be equally upset and insulted at their suggestion. The CLOSEST phone AT&T offers is the cCptivate, which still has less of everything, but a similar processor and better GPU. They should be giving him the Captivate for free, and a $50-100 credit for the downgrade.

  7. Dover says:

    Could he cancel and then sign up for Verizon again? I just checked and they are taking new customers in that area.

    • Endgame says:

      Thats what Iw as thinking, It not like Verizon won’t be offering Phone service in nthat area. I dont get this whole debacle.

  8. Thyme for an edit button says:

    You should read the terms of your contract to see if you can get out of it. If you can’t, you could maybe sell the Droid X to pay the ETF.

    If you have to stay with AT&T, definitely fight on the comparable phone. I agree that the Aria is not comparable to the Droid X. Go through normal channels though it will be a pain and layout the fact that the Aria is quite different from the Droid X and the Captivate is the closest AT&T has in terms of being up to date and features. If/when you get nowhere with normal channels. EECB.

    • sn1per420 says:

      I’ve tried everything short of an EECB to get ATT to listen to me, and I’ve never had any luck. For some reason they switched my family plan’s unlimited messaging (included SMS and MMS) to only SMS about a 18 months ago. I’ve called regular customer service 3 or 4 times, executive customer service twice, and the special customer service line for businesses (I’m on a small business account). All I ever get is “your plan does not include MMS,” even when I tell them that it does, and that I had been sending MMS from my phone for 2.5 years before they cut me off.

      tl;dr: 99.9999% of the time, it’s safe to assume ATT customer service will not help you.

  9. Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

    Material change in contract.

    Get out now.

    • Brunette Bookworm says:

      I agree. If they can’t support your phone because of a carrier change you didn’t choose and aren’t offering you a comparable phone, leave. Find some company who will give you what you want. If they try to charge you, refuse to pay. From the letter it sounds like you have a very good case for leaving due to a contract change.

      • common_sense84 says:

        No way they will try to charge in this case. Their attempt to convert people is most likely a lie of omission.

        If people do nothing, their service will be canceled when AT&T finally cuts off the CDMA service they are using. AT&T cannot just blind mail them a phone they never activate and start billing them for a service they do not use.

        AT&T naturally will pretend the customer has to switch in marketing material, but that is definitely not true.

        If they tried to charge ETFs with a change this big or enforce contracts even if people don’t sign up with AT&T, they would be opening themselves up to a huge class action.

  10. jetsaredim says:

    I would consider a couple things.

    1 – I’m no contract lawyer, but I would say that if people have used increased text message rates as an excuse to get out of contracts early without ETF, I’d say this is well within the no-ETF category. Just cancel your contract.

    2 – Unless you’re 100% wedded to the DX (which it sounds like you might be) you should consider the Xperia X10. Sell the DX on ebay and you should get enough to buy the new phone.

    • gopena says:

      The x10 doesn’t even run the same verison of android as the Droid X. the X10 is getting 2.1 “Soon” I belive it runs 1.5 or 1.6 now, and the Droid X currently has 2.2 (It ships with it) He would lose more functionality than it would be worth.

    • anarkie says:

      The X10 doesn’t even have multi-touch, which makes Android very enjoyable for browsing.

  11. tmac40 says:

    The HTC Aria is in no way a comparable phone to a Droid X. He has every right to be upset with ATT. This is definitely a material change to his contract. Check the prices of these two phones anywhere. A droid X is worth at least $200 more than an Aria. The Droid X is a top of the line phone and the aria is one of the worst Android phones you can buy. ATT should be forced to give him an Android phone with a 1ghz processor and a 4.3″ screen. They should have to buy a european Desire HD or something like that. Stuff like this should not be allowed to happen.

  12. peebozi says:

    The OP should have read the TOS, and I quote: “We can change the terms at any time for any reason. Material change to the contract, you say? ROFLMFAO!!! Eat shit, we’re a corporation and we own your government, Peon!!!!”

    • tmac40 says:

      If they make a material change to your contract you are always allowed to cancel without ETF. They are required to send you a notice to that effect. You have 30 days to cancel usually. If you don’t that means you accept the change and are now bound to the new contract terms for the remainder of your contract. That is the reason that people can break their contract with no ETF if the carrier raise the rate for text messages, for example.

    • hansolo247 says:

      You are missing a KEY required item in contract law.

      CONSIDERATION.

      If they make an adverse change without providing some kind of compensation that is acceptable to the other party, the contract (or the change, but most computer systems just can’t do that) can be severed.

  13. Transient says:

    At the least, the customer should be able to pay the difference. I hope AT&T comes through. It might be worth trying @ATTCustomerCare on Twitter.

    • common_sense84 says:

      There is no hope here. He is allowed to walk away without an ETF. You can walk away without an ETF if they raise the price of text messaging by a cent.

      This change is huge. He is dumb to even consider switching to AT&T.

  14. peebozi says:

    Can’t a company even try to screw their customers a little.

    We should all know that the number crunchers figured this would be the first offer…and MANY people would take it, thereby preserving every penny the company can? a handful of people will complain and they’ll do what they believe would be required of them had this gone to a court they haven’t bought and paid for.

  15. MrEvil says:

    It is not fair one bit that Nick has to pay for a new phone because Verizon had to give up some customers to ATT to buy Alltel and Nick had no say in who would be his cell provider. ATT Best pony up the phone of Nick’s choice or let him back out of his contract.

  16. Goatweed says:

    I would think that an EECB to Verizon’s suits might, at the very least, get him a result where he gets transferred to Verizon so he can keep using his phone – and if AT&T ends up hitting him for an ETF they should just pay it for him. In the long run, the retain a customer who is happy with his hardware and they’ll make back his ETF in no time. Plus it keeps one less person out of AT&T’s crappy cell network.

  17. robertey says:

    I’m gonna insert a plug here for prepaid phone service. Never have I been so happy with a phone plan as when I dropped AT&T after six years for a prepaid plan from Virgin Mobile. Now I’ve got a simple Droid with a $25 a month plan.

    • BurtReynolds says:

      So you bought an unlocked Droid and were able to get it up and running on Virgin Mobile? Could you possibly explain what steps were necessary to do that? I thought if Virgin didn’t offer the phone, you couldn’t get it on their network.

      • Oranges w/ Cheese says:

        They’ve started selling very barebones android phones. I believe that is what he’s referring to.

      • MyopicRaiderfan says:

        You can get the Samsung Intercept for $250. I have the LG Rumor Touch. So far very happy with unlimited internet, text and 300 minutes for $25 per month.

  18. winnabago says:

    It’s bullshit that cell phone companies overhype their phone’s features, specs, performance, etc. in advertising when the consumer’s money is on the line (and make us buy all sorts of data and add ons to go with them), but when it comes time to pony up and give this guy a comparable one in this case, suddenly just any phone that kinda looks alike will do. Hypocrites.

  19. backwerds says:

    As everyone else has said; its a pretty clear case to be able to cancel the contract without breaching the ETF. That being said there are 2 issues with this story.

    1. If you’re an Altel customer and you had a Verizon phone, you aren’t really an Altel customer. Unless you paid for the phone out of pocket and just had them use it on their network. Which, if true, allows you to sell the phone without an ETF.
    2. Shop around for the ATT phone. Today on Amazon you can get the Samsung Captivate for 25 with a new contact.

  20. guy3 says:

    Nick,
    If VZW is switching to ATT in your area then Alltel will be switching to VZW. Long story short, you have 30 days to opt out of ATT after you receive your new ATT phone regardless of the remaining time left on your contract. It will be treated as a new activation for ATT so you have the trial period. After the 30 day trial period your previous 2 yr agreement is valid. Stop into a retail store and they will be able to explain it better than I can. That’s what I did and they were pretty informative about what’s going on. I don’t know if there is any way they will change what your free phone is but at least you will have an out.

  21. BurtReynolds says:

    I find it a bit hard to believe that a customer can be “forced” to switch from Verizon to AT&T. Wouldn’t this result in a major change in contract terms and therefore allow any customer to cancel their service without ETF? Or it sounds like Verizon is deciding to essentially discontinue service to him, which would breach the contract from thier end (although I wouldn’t be surprised if there is small print to protect them). Either way, I would think there is very little stopping him from taking his Droid X and signing back up with Verizon, if that is what he really wants. Personally I’d have a hard time going back to Verizon after this kind of treatment, no matter how much I already sunk into the Droid X.

    • broncobiker says:

      It is from an older news story, the government is forcing this to happen.

    • lesleyhoenig says:

      While I’m mad at Verizon to an extent because I’ve been with verizon for 9 years and am being forced to switch, I blame the DOJ and ATT on this one. I’m actually a fan of the fact anti trust laws exist, but using them like this to result in consumers being pissed off doesn’t make sense.

  22. themichael says:

    I am an Alltel customer that is being transitioned over to AT&T soon. I bought an Android phone with them, and I love it. My friend works for Alltel and he told me the phone I will be getting with Alltel… it ALSO has a crappy low-resolution phone. So you can imagine my lack of surprise that Verizon customers will be dealing with the same crap.

    One thing I am aware of though is that during the transition period you will have 30 days just to opt of the whole thing and go else where without being penalized. Obviously they aren’t going to advertise that very loudly, but everyone will have that option. So if you’re upset, just pay your last bill and leave. There will be no early termination fees.

    Another thing that Alltel to AT&T transition customers will absolutely love, is the fact that they will be double billed one month if they switch over to an AT&T plan. Alltel bills after the month is up, and AT&T bills in advance…. which means customers will be paying twice in one month if they switch plans.

  23. banndndc says:

    Shouldn’t Verizon have to refund him the purchase price of the phone if AT&T wont provide an actually comparable (whether based on features or price) one?

    hmmm… this sounds somewhat like the reason i ran away from at&t after they bought at&t (cingular bought at&t and switched the name). phone didnt work, they offered one that was worse and the plan was more expensive. just dont accept a new contract (which is what the phone switch does) and run away. there is no way the financial terms of the two are exactly the same.

    • wastedlife says:

      AT&T bought Cingular(not the other way around), but transitioned its own customers under Cingular. Not 100% sure why, maybe Cingular had more customers or a better network. After transitioning all the AT&T customers to Cingular, they renamed it to AT&T Wireless. Being sick of the lack of good android phones and all the dropped calls, I switched to Sprint and got an EVO. Never been happier.

      Anyway, as others are stating, the OP should be able to drop the contract without paying the ETF, then bring their droidX into a Verizon store and get a new plan, shouldn’t even need to stick to a contract.

  24. DanKelley98 says:

    Cancel the service and move elsewhere. I don’t think they can force you to go to another carrier.

  25. smashedpotats says:

    The captivate is an amazing phone. AT&T doesn’t have to do anything for you as a “new customer.”

  26. ogremustcrush says:

    As far as I’m concerned this whole process should be an automatic ETF waiver. I sure as hell wouldn’t want AT&T after getting used to Verizon. Even if you can’t get rid of the ETF, I suggest taking the Aria, eBaying it, and using that to pay AT&T’s ETF. Then sign up for Verizon again. Since you’ll have to sign up for a new contract anyway, buy a Droid 2 on amazon for a cent then have them switch the activation over to your Droid x and eBay the droid 2 for a nice profit.

  27. perfectly_cromulent says:

    Options = don’t pick a phone from AT&T, on the day of the merge, go back to Verizon and port your now at&t # to VZW. This is what I will be doing! You have 30 days to port to another carrier, no ETF. It’s in their fine print, and I confirmed this with Verizon as well.

    • lesleyhoenig says:

      BUT there is a restocking fee because they’re still going to send you a phone even if you don’t pick one

  28. Cyclone says:

    Could he not sell his Droid X (going for around $500ish on ebay), pocket $300 of that and get the Captivate for $200? If he doesn’t want to do that, sell the Droid X and cancel his contract to goto another carrier? Sounds like Nick just wants to complain without putting any effort into this first.

    Sucks that they’re forcing him to switch carriers but without any effort on his part to get what he wants, he deserves to get screwed.

    • tmac40 says:

      Selling stuff on Ebay isn’t risk free. This is a hassle that should be ATT’s burden, not Nick’s. What if he tries this and ends up getting scammed through ebay? At the very least he should be able to get the Captivate for free. What they should do is have him turn in his Droid X for a credit of the full MSRP (599) and let him either buy a new Captivate or cancel ETF free and keep his droid X.

  29. yzerman says:

    I have to agree with Everyone else.. get out now… This is a change in contract and you can walk without paying the ETF.

    Else if you want to stick with crappy ATT service I suggest forcing them to get you that Samsung as its the closest to what you have with the Droid X

  30. SlappyFrog says:

    “I have yet to call AT&T about this” then shut the bleep up. Get the facts before you start complaining.

    • tmac40 says:

      He shouldn’t have to. He was sent an e-mail stating what his options are from ATT. It should be publicized that AT&T is trying to rip off the customers being forced from Verizon.

  31. jefeloco says:

    It’s not fair but it is life. I dealt with this all the time when I worked phone support for T-Mo. They are gobbling up regional carriers left and right, sometimes T-Mo got the contracts, sometimes another telco got them due to weirdly arranged telecommunications laws concerning smaller companies and number ownership/availability.

    All that said, At&t should be offering a comparable “pre contract” priced phone since his Droid X was not a cheap HTC Aria. If At&t acquired his contract they should honor the fact that he already paid for his discounted phone and shouldn’t have to pay twice for the pleasure of his two year death choke.

    • common_sense84 says:

      It’s not fair, but then again it’s not true.

      There is no ETF. Material adverse changes to the contract give the customer the right to walk away with their phone without paying any fees. Considering the how drastic the change is, most likely anyone who ignores AT&T’s request to pick a new phone and a new plan will be quietly dropped. AT&T cannot force anyone to make this change and they cannot bill someone for a service they don’t activate or have a phone for.

      AT&T is simply telling them of the great news of their buying up of the smaller carrier and your new options for phones and service. They are just leaving out the fact that this change means anyone can walk away if they want for free. All of their marketing stuff will only offer the options AT&T wants you to pick. AT&T does not have to inform anyone that they can walk. Most likely no one does.

      AT&T operators can just repeat the new offerings and tell customers those are the only options being offered. They don’t have to admit the old contracts are voided by the change.

      • lesleyhoenig says:

        You all keep talking about a small carrier, but verizon isn’t a small carrier, yes they bought alltel (which by the way isn’t THAT small, but certainly smaller than verizon or att), but these are verizon customers being forced to switch. It would be a bit different if verizon was going to cease to exist after the fact.

  32. Geekybiker says:

    The captive is a better phone than the droid X, but it is the closest to comparable. The Aria isn’t even in the same ballpark.

  33. common_sense84 says:

    THEIR IS NO ETF FEE!!!!!

    The consumerist used to post stories weekly about how a simple change like the hours of your free nights, or the price per text message means you cannot be charged an ETF.

    How can the consumerist post this story and completely forget about it’s history. The ability to get out of ETFs used to be one of the more popular topics on this site.

    THE CONSUMERIST NEEDS WRITERS THAT ACTUALLY READ THIS SITE.

    • Laura Northrup says:

      AT&T already thought of that.

      Q. Can I switch to another carrier without paying an Early Termination Fee before my service transitions to AT&T?
      A. Your current contract terms and conditions apply, including those provisions related to Early Termination Fees. If you are no longer subject to a contract, there would be no Early Termination Fee to disconnect.

      • Acidsniper says:

        Wrong. AT&T can not contractually change his contract with Verizon. While it may state that on their website, it would NEVER hold up in court. He has a contractual agreement with an EFT on Verizon, as such Verizon is altering his contractual agreement and he can cancel said contract without incurring an EFT.

  34. Floobtronics says:

    He should definitely call Executive CS on this. When they botched an upgrade for my wife’s line earlier this year, I took the problem to them. In a matter of about 4 hours, they had not only fixed the problem, but had also given me 2 free months of service, waived the upgrade fee, and overnighted us her new phone at no charge.

  35. JonBoy470 says:

    I would go for the no-ETF cancel, port the number to a new Verizon account, using the existing Droid X. Should be able to do it contract-free on Verizon, I would think. If AT&T tried to charge an ETF, I’d march into one of their retail stores and politely informing them that they won’t be charging me an ETF. Make a big enough stink in front of customers on a Saturday and you’ll get what you want…

  36. Howie Dub says:

    Hi Nick,

    Here are the customer agreements from both Verizon Wireless and ATT:

    Verizon Wireless: Can Verizon Wireless Change This Agreement or My Service?
    We may change prices or any other term of your Service or this agreement at any time,but we’ll provide notice first, including written notice if you have Postpay Service. If you use your Service after the change takes effect, that means you’re accepting the change. If you’re a Postpay customer and a change to your Plan or this agreement has a material adverse effect on you, you can cancel the line of Service that has been affected within 60 days of receiving the notice with no early termination fee.

    ATT: We may change any terms, conditions, rates, fees, expenses, or charges regarding your Services at any time. We will provide you with notice of material changes (other than changes to governmental fees, proportional charges for governmental mandates, roaming rates or administrative charges) either in your monthly bill or separately. You understand and agree that State and Federal Universal Service Fees and other governmentally imposed fees, whether or not assessed directly upon you, may be increased based upon the government’s or our calculations.

    IF WE INCREASE THE PRICE OF ANY OF THE SERVICES TO WHICH YOU SUBSCRIBE, BEYOND THE LIMITS SET FORTH IN YOUR CUSTOMER SERVICE SUMMARY, OR IF WE MATERIALLY DECREASE THE GEOGRAPHICAL AREA IN WHICH YOUR AIRTIME RATE APPLIES (OTHER THAN A TEMPORARY DECREASE FOR REPAIRS OR MAINTENANCE), WE’LL DISCLOSE THE CHANGE AT LEAST ONE BILLING CYCLE IN ADVANCE (EITHER THROUGH A NOTICE WITH YOUR BILL, A TEXT MESSAGE TO YOUR DEVICE, OR OTHERWISE), AND YOU MAY TERMINATE THIS AGREEMENT WITHOUT PAYING AN EARLY TERMINATION FEE OR RETURNING OR PAYING FOR ANY PROMOTIONAL ITEMS, PROVIDED YOUR NOTICE OF TERMINATION IS DELIVERED TO US WITHIN THIRTY (30) DAYS AFTER THE FIRST BILL REFLECTING THE CHANGE.

    So with either carrier, you should be able to cancel w/o a termination fee

  37. jwissick says:

    End your service. This simply has to be a contract exit loop.

  38. samandiriel says:

    I would definitely terminate my contract, and then just sign back up again with Verizon. Since Verizon use CDMA and almost no one else does, you’ll have a tough time finding another network that you can use the phone on.

  39. parsonsdj1 says:

    Lucky Guy! He can know get an iPhone 4 (Best Smartphone in the World) instead of his iPhone wannabe. Small charge ($200) is eminently reasonable.

  40. Acidsniper says:

    Here’s what you do:

    1. Cancel your service with Verizon, due to Verizon making a material change in your contract that you do not accept or approve of you can get out withOUT an EFT.
    2. Open a new account with Verizon using a “friend” or family members address in the area. This should get you out of the demographic they’re sending over to AT&T and let you keep your DroidX. If you don’t have anyone in the area just open a new account for yourself.

  41. TheCorporateGeek Says Common Sense Is The Key says:

    This never would have happened if you’d purchased the almighty iPhone to begin with! Jajajajajajajaja

  42. SynMonger says:

    Why not just end your contract, and go back to Verizon?

  43. lesleyhoenig says:

    I did, in fact, call att within a day of receiving the email and letter being referred to. I have the original droid, which might not compare to the Droid X, being that it is older, but I pointed out the HTC Aria is not comparable, because for one, it does NOT have froyo, the guy on the phone tried to claim there is no difference between 2.1 and 2.2 (uh, I can name many differences of which I would miss if I had to downgrade to a phone with an older OS). The screen is tiny on the HTC Aria, and I agree, the closest to an equivalent on ATT is the captivate, and I was assuming that would be considered the equivalent phone.

    Keep in mind, ATT will let you out if you cancel within 30 days. HOWEVER, they will charge a restocking fee. They will not let you cancel before you get the replacement phone “because you are still technically with verizon, it’s up to verizon.”

  44. Mike says:

    I’m lost. He was a Verizon customer, Verizon buys Alltel, and now he’s forced to go to AT&T?

    Am I missing something?

  45. jaymer says:

    Not to mention the fact that the Samsung Captivate (and all AT&T labeled Android Phones) have been neutered to prevent the installation of unsigned Android apps (side loading/web downloads) that are not from the Android Market.

    Also, it has had the Google Search engine removed so AT&T can place Yahoo (BING!) search in its place.

    Droid X != Captivate in any situation. I would get MAD.

    -Jamie

  46. Thanatos says:

    I’m pretty sure this qualifies as “a material change” in your contract given that you signed a contract with Verizon and not AT&T. Therefore, this contract should be null and void.

    Get out without any ETF penalties and move to another carrier. If Verizon won’t work, then Sprint should.

  47. rambo76098 says:

    Wouldn’t this be considered a “Material Change” of the contract, which allows for the contract to be terminated?

    Disclaimer: IANAL

  48. ATTention says:

    It may not be “fair” that customers are required to do this, however, I feel this is more on the fault of the previous provider. AT&T didn’t force Alltel to sell the company, Alltell willingly “sold out” their customer’s to AT&T… a company whose wireless network is of a completely different technology. Alltel is CDMA (like Verizon) ATT is GSM (like the rest of the world.) Fact of the matter is that even Alltel are in it for the cash grab, just like AT&T. The corporate buy-outs don’t just happen overnight, they are long processes, and Alltel is the company that continued business-as-usual, allowing customer’s to upgrade & start new agreements, all the while knowing they were going to be selling the company, so AT&T takes the blame because they don’t offer “comparable phones.” When a consumer decides to save their money by going to a provider who doesn’t even own their own network, they put themselves in these kinds of positions. Poeple need to start realizing that when they buy a phone at discounted pricing, they are entering a 2 yr agreement. 2 years is half the time most people spend in college! the choice is an important one, and should be throughly researched. In fact, I strongly recommend people buy @ the no commitment pricing, so if things go sour, it’s no problem to cancel. Except for iPhone, you generally only save $100-300 when you start the contract, and ETF’s for non-smartphones start @ $175, smartphones @ $325. But these things aren’t given any thought by the masses of self-centered techno freaks that inhabit this country… all they know is they want to look cool & that they shouldn’t have to pay for it.