Verizon Wants Me To Pay $300 ETF Because Of Its $450 Error

When Consumerist reader Timothy bought his wife a new smartphone for her birthday last December, he thought he was just doing something nice for his special someone. Little did he know he was hopping aboard the grotesque merry-go-round that is Verizon Wireless customer service.

After only a few days, his wife’s brand new Commando smartphone would no longer ring if it had gone into keypad lock mode. Several calls to Verizon Wireless later and they were sent a replacement. Except instead of getting a new Commando, they were given a used Droid X3.

“The fact that I bought a brand new smartphone that was faulty and Verizon replaces it with a used smartphone really ticks me off,” writes Timothy, “but left with no other options I agreed to take the used smartphone.”

So Timothy and his wife packed up the broken Commando and sent if off to Verizon. A couple weeks later, but before their next bill came, Timothy’s wife received a text from Verizon confirming that her old phone had been received.

“This is where the story should end, right?” asks Timothy. “Unfortunately it does not.”

Shortly after receiving that text, Timothy gets a bill that includes a $449.95 equipment charge.

“I called Verizon and to my surprise they told me that they never received the smartphone we sent back,” he tells Consumerist. “I kindly explained that we received a text from Verizon that it was received. To which the Verizon rep responded, ‘Yes, I see that we did send you text confirming receipt.’ So I’m like ‘OK, then what seems to be
the issue?’ The call ended with me agree to pay just my bill and not the equipment charge and the Verizon rep agree to look into the equipment charge and get back to me.”

Then comes the February bill. And there is that $449.95 charge again.

“I call Verizon again and again agreed to pay the bill and not the equipment charge and the Verizon rep promised to call me back about the equipment charge,” says Timothy. “This time the Verizon rep called back and left a voicemail telling me that the $449.95 equipment charge has been removed.”

All seemed to be just fine/dandy when Timothy’s March bill showed a credit of $108.53.

But then came the April bill. And the $449.95 charge returned from its one month vacation.

This time, when he calls VZW, he’s told that the company records show that Verizon sent him not one, but two replacement phones, a Droid X3 and Droid X2. Now, Timothy had recently purchased an X2 for himself, but he’d never had it replaced, nor had Verizon accidentally sent him one.

“I told them that there is no way in hell Verizon would send TWO replacement phones to replace ONE faulty one and that if Verizon doesn’t take the $449.95 equipment charge off my bill for good, I will terminate my contract,” writes Timothy. “The Verizon rep informed me, ‘That is fine; it will cost you $300 to terminate the contract.’ I said, ‘Like hell.'”

Timothy, who had been spending $210/month with Verizon wants Big Red to answer his question: “Is YOUR $449.95 mistake worth not having me as a customer?”

We’re putting that same question to VZW and will update if they comment or do anything to resolve the issue.