Planning on buying a new Verizon phone after April 22nd? Then plan to spend a little more money: Verizon announced that they're adding a $30 "upgrade fee" for existing customers who want to get a new phone and renew their two-year contract. The fee will be enacted on all returning customers in two weeks, though you apparently won't have to pay it... if you pony up for an unsubsidized phone. For several hundred dollars more, on phones that are already considerably more expensive than their counterparts on other networks. Hooray.
Verizon claims that the fee will be put in place to "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." Apparently these services, which Verizon has provided for years without the aid of an extraneous fee, simply can't continue without getting some extra cash out of their users. This comes after a failed attempt to add a $2 "convenience fee" to customers who had the audacity of paying with a debit or credit card.
I don't want to go off on a rant here, but as a Verizon customer (whose location doesn't give any other options) this seems like pretty straightforward profiteering. It's not enough that Verizon and manufacturers price phones in such a way that most people can't afford a smartphone without egregious subsidies. It's not enough that after two years of service, that while certainly among the best in the nation is also its most expensive, they have to get another two year contract to get a phone that will be out of date in one. No, they've got to tack $30 on to the privilege of continuing to be a Verizon customer, giving services that they already offer as an excuse. This isn't going to be enough to make me to switch - Verizon's coverage just cant' be beaten - but it doesn't make me a happy user. These nickel-and-dime fees are really getting out of hand.