So our pal Joel Evans over at ZDNet decided to pick himself up a no-contract Samsung Galaxy Tab from Verizon. As you know, without a contract, this particular Tab ends up costing $599.99 right off the bat. From there, pay close attention to all of these fees, as they’re real life, more than likely what a person would pay picking up a Tab from their local Verizon Wireless shop. Joel’s first bill right out of the shop ended up being $684.78: this included $39.99 for a case as well as $44.80 for tax. After that, he read the fine print and found out how much he’d REALLY be paying.

Your first bill from Verizon (this is later, after the initial purchase) will include a $35 activation fee. You can get this amount back if you’re dissatisfied with the Tab, but only if you return it in under three days. If you return it in under three days OR over three days, you’ll be charged a $70 restocking fee.

As you know from our Samsung Galaxy Tab: Five Carriers, Three Cases – Which Feels Best? post, Joel’s first monthly bill will be at least $20 (for the 1GB data plan, which he did, in fact, opt for) – that plus the $35 activation fee, plus $5.67 taxes and fees, plus $0.65 for a partial month of use:

Verizon bills you for one month in advance: In my case the service started on 11/11/2010, and the bill date was 11/12/2010. So, I owed 65 cents for that partial month.

All of this ends up equaling out to approximately $61.32 for your first month’s bill. If you’d like to cancel your broadband connection because you feel these fees are wild and crazy, you’ll have to pay a $35 fee to reconnect it. If, however, you tell Verizon that you’d like to “suspend” your account, you can pay $15 to do that. Outrageous or not outrageous in the least? You be the judge.

[Via ZDNet]


  1. Is the focus of this article on the restocking fee? Anytime you activate ANY piece of equiptment on ANY Verizon plan there is a one-time activation fee and a prorated first months bill. You always have the option to cancel within 72 hours with no charges to your account. Maybe this author should do more research before posting such an article since the ONLY difference is the restocking fee. In fact, if you think about it, If you buy something brand new for $600 and decide you simply ‘dont like it’ then return it; what do you expect them to do with the device at that point? They obviously can’t sell it brand new for $600 again since it’s used. Consumers should be held more accountable.

  2. Tell that to the Walmart employees who have to figure out what to do with your partially used, out of the box, dirty or otherwise unsellable returned merchandise.

  3. Larry you sound like a very misinformed consumer, Jeremy was speaking like someone who has actual knowledge of the wireless industry and the way billing across all carriers is handled. Unlike the author of this article.

  4. We bought the Samsung Galaxy Tab today, and we called Verizon Customer Service and they immediately cancelled the Broadband services and credited us the $35 activation fee and the $20 monthly fee.

  5. Sounds like a compelling reason to get one with WiFi and dispense with the wireless broadband. Is anyone really looking to do google navigation on a tablet?

  6. I think his main point was to point out all the hidden fees — activation, taxes, restocking, re-activation, etc. But the main thing that most people didn’t know was that, unless you continue your data plan each consecutive month on their “month-to-month, non-contract” device, you are going to be paying that $35 activation fee again. How ridiculous is that! Sure, you can “suspend” the account, but it’s still going to cost $15! Wow, I love the Galaxy Tab and I still want it on Verizon, but these fees are making me a little nervous!

  7. Do you not have any clue how wireless accounts work? This is nothing out of the ordinary. This is just an alternative for a mobile broadband plan, same as a netbook would be.

    Restocking fees are normal, with phones being $35 and non-phone devices $70. You always have the 3 day period to return with out a restocking fee. In fact, if you don’t open the device you won’t have a restocking fee.

    You also are always charged “in advanced.” Basically the bill you pay each month covers the current bill cycle you’re in plus an per-use charges, roaming charges, overages, purchases, etc for the previous bill cycle. Obviously those aren’t going to show up on the bill for the bill cycle those were used because Verizon Wireless cannot possibly predict what you’ll use IN the bill cycle you’re in when the bill comes out, so it’s in the next bill cycle with the normal in-advance access charges.

    Now, to make it easy lets say your bill cycle starts on the first of every month. You start on the 15th, half way through. You’re technically halfway through the bill cycle already which if you had already had service you would have paid for, but since you are starting up new the first two weeks of service will be thrown in with your first bill which includes the in advance charges, making it look like you were charged 1.5 times for access. For a first bill, to get the cheapest one it’s always best if you start service the day before your bill cycle restarts so you only see one day extra of access charges, of course in an ideal world that’d be great, but you can’t choose your bill cycle date, the computer has to automatically generate it, primarily decided by the current day of the month at that time frame when the least amount of customers have that day as their bill cycle date to avoid the system from having too many accounts ending on the same bill cycle date.

    The worry free guarantee period will allow you to leave with no early termination fee, however you got a device to play with for that time period, and they can’t sell it for full retail anymore, so that measly $35-$70 restocking fee isn’t close to the money they lost having to re-certify the device, restock it, and resell it. That’s not to mention the cost it took for the reps to set up your account, the bills to be calculated and printed, etc. The access of course is paid for because it was used during that time period. You only have to pay for those days you used it, it only makes sense.

    I’m a Verizon Wireless customer service rep, so I’ve got a good grasp at what I’m talking about here. Customers that do the WFG cancellations are some of the biggest factors into why devices and plans cost so much. The company loses so much money on it, but in order for people to get a taste of the service it’s definitely necessary. But really, if people would think or even READ what they’re signing up for then circumstances where lines are canceled before they pay an early termination fee wouldn’t be so detrimental.

    Also, early termination fees are always looked at like we’re trying to rip people off. I understand having set rates for the feature phones ($175) and smartphones ($375) may seem obsurd, but look at it this way: Your shiny new droid seriously cost the company $500-600. The manufacturers do not give us discounts, we pay the retail value. So when you get your phone for $150-200 after a mail-in-rebate, your full ETF will bring it to the cost of the phone, if we’re lucky. The only way the company can make money off a customer is if they keep their line for a couple months. Look at it like this, if the phone costs $600 and we give it to you for $200 and you use it for 30 days and disconnect on that last day, we’re down $400 for the phone, the cost of paying the reps to work with your account, and the systems to maintain and supply access to your account and service. Sure access charges help, and we can probably resell the phone for maybe $250, but we’re still in the negative. With 90+ million customers, this happens hundreds, if not thousands of times daily. I would expect a good $100,000 being lost due to these circumstances, in any given day.

    So do us all a favor: research what you’re buying, understand the terms of your contract, and do your best to stick with it. It will save us all money in the long run. Of course, it may put me out of a job, lol.

  8. Agonized over Galaxy vs. Ipad…Chose the Galaxy…taking it back. Horrible way to view web pages or magazines. It was hard to try it before I bought it because the Verizon store had such a horrible wireless connection. There was no WiFi to really give it a test drive. Liked the size of the unit but it really is just a big smart phone that is to small to really be a good “content” device like the Ipad. Won’t buy the Ipad either because it doesn’t support flash and doesn’t offer additional storage.

  9. I love the Galazy Tab — have had it for a couple weeks. Size is just right — web sites look fine to me, but I can put the device in a jacket pocket and take it anywhere.

    I expect activation fees and things like that — but I thought I got suckered by getting protective covers for the screen (maybe you could do an article on whether those are necessary?) and a case that turned out not to work very well. I guess these things are the wireless equivalent of “rust protection” when you buy a car.

    Thought I’d use wifi only but the 3G as backup has actually been really useful, so I’ll keep a data plan but don’t need unlimited one.

    It was worth paying more for the device so as not to have another contract.

  10. Well,
    Verizon charged me a $35 restocking fee despite
    1) returning the Droid 2 within 48 hours
    2) complaining that the phone was defective (intermittently unresponsive touch screen, multiple freezes, inability to keep charge, making noises even in silent mode, UI freeze )
    3) re-activating my old device.

    If they restock that item, then they are guilty of fraud.

    As for their cost, boo hoo, I spent the better part of a day trying to configure the droid 2 for my corporate e-mail, I had several hours help from IT. My time is billed at $2500/day, that’s between 4 and 5 times the full price cost of that phone. Let me try to explain this to my boss; repeating this operation is NOT an option, I have other things to do than beta test their products. I sure didn’t see them give a damn about wasting my valuable time.

    Update: They just released an update that fixes some of my problems. Now it will crash less often. If that phone had reset on me while in Africa (one of the “fixes”) I would have been furious. I was right, even if that unit was defective, the model is not yet fit for sale.


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