Verizon Says I Can Port Numbers Without Paying ETF, Charges Me $910 ETF Anyway

Ouch.

When Consumerist reader Jill’s husband left his job at Verizon earlier this year, he’d been told that he could port all five of the wireless lines on their family’s account to another carrier without paying any early termination fees, and so they did. But when that final bill came from VZW, they suddenly owed nearly $1,000 in ETFs.

According to Jill, two of the lines were ported without being assessed an ETF, but the remaining three were being slammed with fees of $260, $310, and $350.

When she attempted to contact Verizon about the issue, she says she received the same canned response from every CSR she spoke to: Sorry for the inconvenience, but you owe these fees.

It wasn’t until after Consumerist got involved that Jill was able to get someone to actually review her case to see if those ETFs should have been waived.

Finally, after several days of phone tag and e-mails, she got the correct resolution.

While a Verizon media rep would not comment directly on this story, Jill has forwarded us an e-mail from the company showing that all the numbers on the family’s account had been changed in early September from an employee-type account to a consumer account, and that the fees should have been waived because the numbers were ported to another carrier within 40 days of the switch from employee to consumer.

What Jill’s issue highlights is also Verizon Wireless’ odd method for calculating ETFs. They all start at $350 following a contract renewal, but they are not prorated proportionally (i.e., The ETF for a one-year contract is not divided into 12 equal amounts), rather the ETF drops by only $10 per month for each month into the contract. So even if you only have one or two months remaining on your VZW contract, you could still face hundreds of dollars in termination fees.