At least one official with the FCC is not impressed by Verizon’s latest explanations of its Early Termination Fees (ETFs) and Mobile Web billing practices. Commissioner Mignon Clyburn released a statement (pdf) last night where she called Verizon’s explanation “unsatisfying” and “troubling,” and she closed with the fighting words, “I look forward to exploring this issue in greater depth with my colleagues in the New Year.”
Last month, David Pogue at the New York Times published a tip from a self-described Verizon employee. The employee accused Verizon of deliberately rigging its system to trap customers whenever they accidentally press the “Get It Now” or “Mobile Web” buttons on their phones–even if they cancel the operation immediately, they’re charged a fee of $1.99 each time. Both Pogue and the FCC asked Verizon to explain why this happens. Verizon’s response: it doesn’t, and Pogue and the hundreds of people who wrote in to confirm this practice are all crazy.
It’s pretty hard for Cox Cable to change the name on your account, as Keith and his wife (the original account owner) discovered recently. First they have to disconnect your service, then reconnect it under the new name—and that probably requires all sorts of paperwork and labor. Probably hours of work! Probably someone has to drive out to somewhere and manually do something!!! That’s clearly why they hit Keith with a $20 Digital Activation Fee and a $20 Video Activation Fee.