Verizon Debunks Waived ETF Exploit for Fee Change


Looking to take advantage of a window that may have allowed you to get out of your contract before it expired without paying up? Guess again – Verizon’s not going to let that go over easily. This is in response to a story we reported on where Verizon was said to soon be increasing their monthly regulatory charge from $.13 to $.16. It’s expected to go down July 1st, but even Verizon didn’t 100% commit to saying that this was absolutely happening.

The folks at Consumerist took that opportunity to inform everyone of the change in hopes that people who wanted to cancel their contracts could do so without paying, but we’ve received word from our friends at Verizon that customers will not be able to avoid the early termination fee if they choose to void their contracts. This is possible because the change is not a material one. I know, I know – it hurts to get your hopes and dreams shot down, but “them’s the breaks”.

Quentyn Kennemer
The "Google Phone" sounded too awesome to pass up, so I bought a G1. The rest is history. And yes, I know my name isn't Wilson.

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  1. Wow I just did the math on that and they’ll be gaining an extra $5.4 million a year off of this. I based it on my last recollection of number of subscribers on VZW. I believe its around 180 million isn’t it?

    1. Try $3 million a month. 108 Million subcribers. Might want to try your math again, its $.03 per line.

  2. LOL, with no vaseline. WOW

  3. I know not everyone would agree with me, but if this helps them allow current subscribers to keep unlimited data for good and not charge them for tiered, I’d welcome a 50 to 75 cent increase on all the 180 million subscribers.

  4. “them’s the breaks” Lmao! I love that saying :D

  5. Sorry, VZW, but if somebody wants out bad enough, this is still a valid reason.

  6. Whether this constitutes a “material adverse change” is subjective. They’re just taking a gamble that no one will sue them over this.

    For example, one might look at the regulatory fee as an indicator of how much the company is trying to nickel and dime him, and make purchase decisions based on this amount. In this sense, the regulatory fee just went up by 23%.

    If it’s an important enough change that they have to notify you, then it’s a change that you’re allowed to disagree with. They may not hear your disagreement, but in ignoring it, they’re gambling that no one will deem it important enough to pursue further action.

    1. Actually, it’s not subjective. In layman’s terms, it means ‘the customer pays more.’ Whether you pay $0.01 more or $100 more, it’s still ‘materially adverse.’ The $0.03 change is actually a 19% increase in the fee. Would you be ok with them increasing everything 19%?

      1. It is actually a 23% increase from .13 to .16. The original post was correct.

        1. You are correct. The point stands, though, even at 19%.

  7. Considering the prices of the fees are NOT IN THE CONTRACT, they are right…..

    1. In just about all the states, any change to the terms or fees period is grounds for termination of a contract without a penalty, VZW knows this hence their trying to minimize it, if they flat out refuse you can check with your state consumer protection, odds are that VZW would loos even if it’s “just” $.03

      1. Maybe IF the fee’s were outlined in the contract. As it is, they aren’t. That is why you don’t know what your first bill will be until it arrives.

  8. My god people need to get the facts before they post shit. Every article that gets posted on this site gets “updated”

    1. You are right lets not post anything until we know everything about it, and then we can read it… oh wait that is what mainstream media is for. Phandroid is all about the new and the rumors! If you don’t want to read something the same time everyone else finds out about it then go to a mainstream media source.

  9. So, what you’re saying is that Verizon thinks $.03 per customer is worth the risk of a class action lawsuit.

  10. I just did this yesterday. They did it without a fight. I have written confirmation that my ETF was waived. I had twelve months left on one contract and 20 left on the other two.

    BTW, “materially adverse” cannot be broken up into the individual terms. It is a legal term and means anything that adversely affects and individual and may have changed their decision.

    1. Did you sign a new contract with a new phone with Verizon after you got out of your existing contract?

      Or are you going with a different carrier?

  11. Of Course Verizon is saying it doesn’t count, they don’t want to give it to you. But unless Verizon states what constitutes a “material change” on their contract, they are out of luck. Verizon wrote the contract, which means any ambiguity is decided in the favor of the customer (the person who didn’t write the contract).

    It’s been documented, this can get you out of the contract. However, I think there are other things at play, where you can’t break the contract ETF free, then sign back up with Verizon. If you do this, you’ll 1) Have to work for it, odds are the frontline CSR is just being told it isn’t a valid reason and 2) Go somewhere besides Verizon afterwards.

    Verizon has no authority over what constitutes a material change. And if they offer you a credit, that would actually be them admitting it is a material change. This is why all the new fees going around are being applied when you re-up your contract (like Sprints $10 rich data fee).

  12. Here’s a link to a more recent Consumerist article, they insist it is still doable without paying ETF, there’s also a video in the article with a rundown of what to say.

    The reason you’re hearing “word from your friends at Verizon” is because Verizon won’t make a public statement saying this won’t work. There’s no law about dicking you around (I don’t think) but if Verizon publicly stated that, they’d be in a heap of trouble, because its a lie, and they know.

  13. What VZW said in one statement was that IF there is a material change (and there may not be) and they don’t adjust something else, then it IS a material change. What they were actually hedging on and “clarifying” is that they could, in theory, reduce some other part of the bill by the same .03 cents and then there would be no material change. They also emphasized (though this sounds like posturing to me considering the date), that it has not “yet been decided.” Exactly when do they plan to decide? Just before midnight.

    Fact is the Consumerist is right. VZW knows it, but is trying to minimize the potential damage as large group of people that were never aware of such things, now do.

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