Verizon Wireless To Begin Charging $30 Upgrade Fee On April 22

If you’re an out-of-contract Verizon Wireless customer who just hasn’t gotten around to cashing in on your upgrade, you might want to do so now — or face a $30 fee.

Earlier today, VZW posted the following on its website:

On April 22, Verizon Wireless is implementing a $30 upgrade fee for existing customers purchasing new mobile equipment at a discounted price with a two-year contract. This fee will help us continue 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.

The company says you may be able to “save money or potentially offset the fee” by trading in your phone through the company’s official trade-in program.

The $30 Verizon fee is still smaller than the $36 charged by AT&T and Sprint, but more than the $18 charge for T-Mobile customers.


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  1. JohnDeere says:

    i decided yesterday when i saw they werent paying taxes, that i was going to cancel all my accounts when contracts are up.

    • ryan89 says:

      The problem isn’t the company, it’s the tax system. Don’t blame the company for taking advantage of loopholes, etc they didn’t write into the tax code. You would do the same thing and you know it.

      • AcctbyDay says:


        I know people who won’t bat an eyelash at taking a huge earned income credit, but are angry when “big corporate” doesn’t pay taxes.


        • homehome says:

          Ppl are hypocrites, that’s just the way it is. If they could do it, they wouldn’t say anything about it, but because they can’t, it’s somehow unacceptable.

        • DFManno says:

          Yeah! Because a minimum-wage worker is totally the same thing as a multi-billion-dollar corporation.

      • u1itn0w2day says:

        It’s not the tax system but these corporations like to justify price increases by crying poormouth when in fact they are already making money from things like no taxes.

      • Conformist138 says:

        But many companies have lobbied to get these loopholes that benefit mainly themselves. So, yeah, it may not be 100% the fault of Verizon, but I don’t believe for a second that they were able to loophole and deduct right out of their entire tax liability on accident.

    • floyd fan says:

      So wait, they’re collecting taxes from me on my bill, then not paying the taxes because of loopholes? Is it legal for them to collect the taxes from me then?

  2. bastion72 says:

    So then instead of $150 off a phone you get $120? Nickel and diming their way to a golden poo award.

  3. Beer Baron says:

    Will they be charging the $30 only if you upgrade through Verizon (online or at a Verizon store)? Or will the fee also be applied if you upgraded through Amazon for example?

  4. xerotope says:

    I guess I’ll upgrade by switching carriers every two years.

    • nishioka says:

      Have fun getting hit by activation fees instead of upgrade fees.

      • dragonfire81 says:

        I have managed to get out of every activation fee a wireless provider has ever tried to charge me. Don’t accept them.

        Call to cancel your service and say you’re doing it because of the fee. You can get out in the first 30 days without ETF anyway so you have all the power. Watch the fee magically disappear before they let you walk.

        • Nic715 says:

          I got out of an activation fee with Verizon in Florida when I purchased a wireless card, for being a current cell customer in NY. Well…that’s what they told me anyhow. I paid it upfront then was sent a rebate via prepaid Visa debt card for the same amount in the mail a few weeks later. Then 5 months later I started getting about 6 calls a day from an unknown number. For the first few weeks they never left a message and when they finally did, they said they were from Verizon and had an important billing matter to discuss with me. I called Verizon back directly and asked to be transferred to billing, who told me there was no issue with my account and there were no outstanding bills. When I asked them if they could confirm the phone number that was calling me, they told me it was not one of their numbers and to ignore any further calls as it was most likely a phishing type of scam.

          Fast forward another few months and I receive a collections notice. Seems they decided I was supposed to pay the activation fee after all…they sent notifications/bills to my OLD address, even though I used my license with my current address and confirmed that address when purchasing the wireless card. All those calls…actually from Verizon. Luckily, I’d saved the receipt that said I’d paid the original activation fee. It also had a scan of my ID with the correct address on it on the receipt and I’d gotten an email confirmation and a signed copy mailed to me from the Verizon rep. I’d spoke to who advised me to ignore the calls and had said that the number calling me wasn’t a Verizon number and also that their records showed I was up-to-date on all payments and bills due. That was enough (thank god) to satisfy the collections company that I’d actually paid what I was supposed to pay and I got that cleared up…but still. Wasn’t too pleased with Verizon after that.

      • Scooter McGee says:

        It’s pretty easy to get activation fees by buying online. Costco refunds the activation fee to your bill. There are a lot of weekend specials I’ve seen on AT&T and T-Mobile where they waive the fee…you just have to wait a few more days for shipping.

  5. Hi_Hello says:

    wow, when did everyone started doing this?

    so rather than upgrade, people can switch career each year to avoid the fee?? unless there’s a transfer fee and new customer fee.

    • milrtime83 says:

      There’s probably a “new activation” fee for most of them. Though you also get cheaper phones with a new contract so it probably still works out better.

    • Jamie All Over says:

      Well, there’s the new line activation fee ($36 across the board), and the fact that people don’t realize the contract end-date and the upgrade eligibility date are different.

  6. milrtime83 says:

    In reality it is probably more like:

    “On April 22, Verizon Wireless is implementing a $30 upgrade fee for existing customers purchasing new mobile equipment at a discounted price with a two-year contract. This fee will [make up for people buying phones through Amazon or anywhere other than our stores because we can’t coerce them into adding bunch of useless attachments when they do that]”

    • BurtReynolds says:

      My thoughts were it is a “revenue enhancer” for the upcoming iPhone 5 sales blitz. I hate wireless carriers. I think it might be time to buy a Virgin or Straight Talk phone to try out. If it works, I’ll kiss VZW goodbye. If not, I’ll throw it on Ebay and recoup most of my cost.

  7. donmak says:

    Verizon says “This fee will help us continue 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”

    Really? I have never seen any Wireless Workshops, nor been invited to one. Their online “educational” tools are not helpful, and I hope these experts do more than just read from the support docs like their phone support does.

    This fee seems ridiculous. So there.

    dm :-)

    • scottd34 says:

      you sign up for them on the web site and there are stickers and inserts about them when you buy a phone..

  8. MattPHS2002 says:

    Material adverse change maybe?

    • rugman11 says:

      Doubtful, since this fee does not apply to your current contract, only any future contracts you woul sign.

  9. BigDragon says:

    Makes more sense to switch carriers than to upgrade. I already know Verizon is furious that I pay less than $20 to use my ancient dumb phone as part of a family plan. No way I’m paying 3 to 4 times that much a month for a smart phone.

    • Yomiko says:

      Yeah, I pay more than that for service, but my phone is still just a full keyboard texter. Every time I think having a shiny iPhone would be nice, I do the math on how fast the data charges would add up ($30ish/month). Even when a person get my stupid texting phone now, they have to get a $10 data plan.

      Now any upgrade costs me $30? Hells no. The longer I have this phone, the more I like the idea of sticking with it.

    • brshoemak says:

      Yeah my wife and I have older phones and a family share plan with lots of minutes, a crap ton of texts, for not a whole lot (relative to current prices). We were told (years ago) that if we switched phones we would have to change plans and of course our plan would no longer be available – which sounds like a crock.

      btw, I’ve been out of the game for years. Is in-network calling still free/unlimited for Verizon?

    • alexwade says:

      That reminds me of my experience with AT&T wireless. My brother (who lives in another state) is on my family plan and upgraded his phone to the Motorola Atrix. Of course, it required a data plan. But the beautiful part was I went online and canceled the data plan right away! So he got a new Android phone without the data plan that he really doesn’t want anyway. AT&T is pure incompetence, but I’ve learned to use that to my advantage.

  10. j2.718ff says:

    How about if they just charge extra every time I want “Wireless Workshops, online educational tools, and consultations with experts”.

    • Alliance to Restore the Republic of the United States of America says:

      Lol, I too was wondering wtf they were talking about. I’ll be it’s a useful as the Windows “Help” menu.

    • Nuc says:

      Seriously…they couldn’t come up with a better excuse than this?

  11. Blueskylaw says:

    When I cancelled my Verizon cell phone four months ago they wanted to know why and I said because you nickle and dime customers and try to come up with new fees every month. I also got unlimited minutes, unlimited text, no contract and a data plan for $50 while you charged me $45 for only 450 minutes. I can’t believe I payed them all that money for soooo many years, i’m so glad I switched

    • Yomiko says:

      Who do you have? Fat chance they work in my town, but it would be nice to know in case I move back to a populated area.

      • chucklesjh says:

        StraightTalk (owned by TracFone) is $45 a month for unlimited everything. Their customer service completely sucks, but if you call TracFone directly, they are surprisingly pleasant.

      • Blueskylaw says:

        Boost Mobile on Sprint network. I bought the phone (Motorola Theory) from Target for $60 and had it activated the same day. I also get $5.00 off my bill for every 6 months I pay on time. Imagine that, my bill gets lower every 6 months while on Verizon I have to worry every month on what kind of new bullsh*t fees they come up with.

    • BurtReynolds says:

      These MVNOs look great on paper, but is anyone else concerned that you are going to get the rug pulled out from under you? As the contract carriers see more people defect to Virgin, Boost and Straight Talk, won’t they start rethinking the idea of allowing them to exist in the first place? I mean Sprint could basically shut down Virgin and Boost tomorrow. Then what do you do?

      • Blueskylaw says:

        I’m not worried about them being shut down, i’m more worried about them raising the price, though I think this won’t happen for a while. After they get more expensive there will be another (hopefully) competitor to take them on then it will be time to switch again.

  12. legolex says:

    I’m a long time TMobile customer outside a contract for 4+ years, I purchase all my handsets off eBay or otherwise because I refuse to sign a contract with any carrier. If I want the newest device then I save for it.

  13. Lyn Torden says:

    “This fee will help us continue 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.”

    Those are not things that existing customers coming out of a two-year contract generally need. Those are things that new customers need. The fee should be applied to NEW customers.

  14. Extended-Warranty says:

    You all can thank the iPhone for new fees. Quit blaming the carriers. Apple is screwing everyone left and right.

    • Geekybiker says:

      Its not just apple. Its smartphones in general. People want an $600-800 handset for $200 or less. Than money comes from somewhere. If people were willing to pay up front on handsets like europe we could get much more transparent pricing.

  15. r-nice says:

    You get to buy the phone at a discounted price that they charge you a fee for. What?

  16. Tacojelly says:

    What happened to charging what is fair for the service provided? I would rather pay a little more each month and know that I never have to pay for anything else besides the physical phone.

  17. BrownLeopard says:

    Why don’t more people switch over to pre-paid carriers like Boost (I am not getting compensated for this)? I have an Android phone that I can develop apps on, get fully unlimited internet with NO caps at all (bandwidth or usage), unlimited phone calls, unlimited texts. The prices start at $55 a month and eventually end up in 18 months at $40.

    • DarthCoven says:

      If I’m not mistaken, the pre-paid companies do not have roaming agreements with other carriers (Sprint and Verizon roam on each others’ networks, for example). If you’re out of Boost’s coverage area, you’re SOL and can’t make calls, use data, etc. I travel and like it when my phone works wherever I go.

      • wbabbit says:

        Boost is actually the only prepaid that does allow roaming (free). Virgin and the others do not allow roaming at all.

        • BeamMeUp says:

          Virgin Mobile is on the Sprint network and allows roaming. I have unlimited everything except voice minutes (300 of those) for $25 per month.

          • tomz17 says:

            Nope nope nope… Sprint postpaid customers will roam on Verizon in some parts of the country. Virgin Mobile will roam on “no service”.

    • SecretAgentWoman says:

      Try getting a signal in Downtown Dallas.

      No, really, try. Not going to happen.

  18. ansjc09 says:

    And I was debating about switching to a smartphone as soon as they announce family data plans, supposedly in 2012….like that will ever happen. I don’t want to pay $30 for the pleasure of being their customer. My LG ENV2 (too old for data charges, so texting plan only) shall live forever!

  19. incident_man says:

    This is yet another reason why I have US Cellular: One-time $30 activation fee, no upgrade fees, no contract after the first one, rewards points, free battery swaps, onsite techs in most corporate locations, overage protection, overage caps, overage forgiveness and nationwide service. It’s called the Belief Project

  20. wackydan says:

    BULL CRAP. So, if I am a net new customer to them I don’t pay a $30 fee? So much for loyalty being rewarded.

  21. u1itn0w2day says:

    A broken contract with penalties, imagine that. Not exactly a needy company but a contract was broken. Until people stop using prisons called cell phone contracts this will continue.

  22. agold says:

    So instead of a $30 new-every-two credit, we’re getting an upgrade fee?

  23. dork says:

    It’s the trade-in program that’s the key thing here. They don’t want your leftover phone being re-used by someone without some money going back to them in the process. So, they add a fee, but then tell you they’ll waive part of it if you trade-in the phone (thus ensuring you won’t pass it along to a friend or sell it on E-bay).

    • DarthCoven says:

      The problem with that is I hang on to my old cell phones for when the new one inevitably has problems and I need something to use for a day or two. My wife dropped her phone in a puddle a few months back. While it was sitting in a bowl of rice drying out she was using my old Droid Pro.

    • Gamma1099 says:

      I just used their online tool to see how much they will give me for my current, 2-year old phone: $7. Whoop de doo.

  24. samonela says:

    One solution:

    Tell them to go fly a kite with their two-year contract. Bit the bullet and buy your phone outright.

    Two things may happen:

    1) You may get harassed by a retail employee if you buy it in a store and not online because they do NOT receive commsission when phones are paid for in full. Maybe this will cause employees to complain to HQ as well when their bottom line starts getting hit.

    ( )

    2) You will still have leverage as a month-to-month customer. Threaten to leave if they don’t treat you right.

    Also, after a year, you can (if you wish) sell your phone on Ebay or Craigslist if it’s in good condition, and use that money from the sale to help purchase your new phone. Thus creating your own subsidy program.

  25. lovemypets00 - You'll need to forgive me, my social filter has cracked. says:

    With the exception of the web browser only working when my phone reads “home” (and it thinks home is anywhere except my home zip code), I am happy with my LG Tracfone. I got triple minutes for life, and the phone came with 1510 minutes and a year’s service. I don’t use a cell much, and this is perfect for me.

    Verizon can stuff it.

  26. peggysister says:

    Does anyone have Straight Talk by Walmart? $45 a month for unlimited everything. I am with Verizon but want to jump ship.

    • Peffse says:

      Straight Talk is an odd beast.
      It’s the same company that does Tracfone, so it’s customer service is just terrible. At the same time, depending on the model phone you purchase, it can be a Verizon CDMA, AT&T GSM or T-Mobile GSM. Tracfone purchases bulk minutes from the large cell tower owners, and just hopes you don’t use more than they bought.
      If you are thinking about buying one to spite Verizon… well, you are still supporting Verizon if you end up with a CDMA model.

    • Scooter McGee says:

      My girlfriend used to have it and loved the service. $45 for unlimited everything, but it was a basic flip phone too. Uses Verizon’s network so you have pretty much the same coverage, but I think they limit it in places. I’m not sure if there is a higher monthly price for smart phones, but definitely a good deal if not.

      • Hi_Hello says:

        if your g/f doesn’t use more than 1,000 min. and 1,000 text, she might want to get the $30 plan.

        That’s what I use. I have a flip phone. Highest I used was 300 min.

        I’m thinking about getting the $45 plan so I can get their smartphone.

    • BeamMeUp says:

      I have Virgin Mobile with unlimited everything except 300 voice minutes per month for $25 (its now $35). They also have 1200 voice minutes with unlimited everything else for $45 or unlimited everything (including voice) for $55.

  27. Geekybiker says:

    I’m just waiting for it to be “$150 discount on new handset with renewal and $150 renewal fee.”

  28. fontman2008 says:

    if they do not wave it dumb them

  29. diagoro says:

    Another reason why carriers suck for their ‘lack of proper OS updates’ scams.

    1. Sell phones with outdated versions of android (or other OS, depending on phone).
    2. Promise the most recent updates.
    3. Offer one within a few months, but than completely fail to support phone, even if manufacturer has released updated.
    4. Offer a ‘new’ phone with the latest OS versions and features!

    (NO…….I’m not going with Apple)

    • tomz17 says:

      Buy a Google Experience Device (e.g. Nexus Galaxy, Nexus S, Xoom tablet, etc.). These are updated for about the same timeframe as the equivalent apple device.

  30. mbz32190 says:

    I’m jumping ship from Sprint next month and going prepaid. I currently pay $30 + tax for 500 mins, unlimited data/txt on a “vintage” TouchPro2. But if I want a new phone, I have to pay $10 more a month for a more modern smartphone, and then another $10 if I want a 4g phone.

    T-Mobile Prepaid (through Walmart)…$30 taxes included (even a dollar or so less if you buy refills at a discount), Unlimited txt, data/4G internet. Only downfall is 100 phone minutes a month, but I rarely use the minutes I’ve had, and there are apps to make calls over wifi or whatever.

  31. Bionic Data Drop says:

    If they don’t waive this when I upgrade again, I’ll be shopping around for a new carrier. I refuse to pay a company for the privilege of continuing business with them.

  32. TinaBringMeTheAx says:

    That’s fine: So after two years, when you have recouped the cost of the subsidized phone I’m keeping, reduce my bill by $25/month.

    • Bionic Data Drop says:

      That’s crazy talk! Why not just allow people who buy their phones outright to have a lower bill because Verizon doesn’t need to recoup costs? How will the Verizon executives feed their familes then?

  33. Cicadymn says:

    I wonder if I could just bitch them out enough to waive the fee.

    Because my company now has a discount with AT&T and it’d be just as good for me to move to them as it would be to get a new phone.

    It all comes down to whether they want money or not. In this case, asking for more without giving more is wanting less money.

  34. ned4spd8874 says:

    There are enough fees already. What about the price we already pay for the phone?!? Seems that should cover this crap they’re trying to pull now. I will refuse to pay this fee and if they insist, then guess what? I have a choice. I can spend my money elsewhere. I’ve been a verizon customer for about 10 years now, but I have no allegiance to them. It’s obvious they have no allegiance to me.

  35. One-Eyed Jack says:

    Makes me appreciate my no-contract Virgin Mobile phone even more.

  36. dush says:

    What’s the point of a discount if they just charge you a fee?

    The level of service and support I’ve come to expect is service and support without a fee to upgrade so I guess they are lieing about continuing the level I have come to expect.

  37. Happy Tinfoil Cat says:

    AT&T colluded to charge $36 about a month ago. I have 5 phones eligible to upgrade but instead, just started buying the exact same models off the internet. Feels like new, works like new, no two-year contracts, no mandatory price-hiked data plans, no f*&CK1n@ $36 bucks apiece.

  38. Levk says:

    no point in getting a contract now, just buy the phone and you can get new ones at full price most times the 2 year contract deal takes out only so much the 30$ fee will offset it so making it less cheaper to do

  39. heyhowareyou says:

    My friend who works for verizon says it’s because their 4G LTE failed so they are trying to recuperate their loss.