In the second big move to squeeze more money out of its subscribers, Verizon today announced that it will begin charging a $30 fee to everyone who activates a new device with a two-year contract. Verizon claims that this fee will help 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 guidance on devices that are more sophisticated than ever.” Basically, they are now charging $15 a year for educational services. We would get all uppity about this move, except for the sad fact that the other three wireless carriers are already charging a similar crappy, rather unfair fee, especially considering that the cost of devices is already built into monthly service charges. If you choose to activate a phone without purchasing it through Verizon at a discounted rate, you will not be charged, supposedly.
That’s this week. The Verizon greed story last week was related to high-speed Internet. On May 6, anyone who wants Verizon high-speed Internet will also be forced to purchase a landline phone plan as well. There’s no good technical reason for this. It’s solely for Verizon to make up losses from people dumping their landline phones (probably because they have cell phones through Verizon Wireless). Current users who want to update or upgrade their accounts will also be forced to buy a landline phone. Not cool, Verizon. What the hell will I do with a landline phone? It can’t even make long distance calls without charges.
Before that, around New Year’s, Verizon tried to get away with charging users a $2 fee for paying their bills online or over the phone. After an uprising of negativity on the Web, Verizon abandoned that plan.
For those wondering if Verizon is actually hurting for cash, it made more than $2.5 billion in profit in 2010 and more last year.
What stunt will Verizon pull next? We’ll find out soon enough.