Verizon Upgrade Fee

Verizon might have nixed plans for a $2 bill-payment fee late last year, but that doesn't mean it's the end of all fees for all time. Starting April 22, Big Red will charge you $30 for the privilege of upgrading your device on contract.

Says Verizon:

This fee will help us 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.

Verizon does note that if you take advantage of its "green friendly trade-in program," (at www.verizonwireless.com/tradein) it's possible to mitigate or completely offset the fee. And upgrade fees aren't really anything new, either. AT&T in February doubled its upgrade fee from $18 to $36.

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Verizon implementing $30 upgrade fee starting April 22

108 Comments

Not liking this trend with Verizon either. That said, if this fee is charged before the contract is up, then ok. Signing a two year contract should mean committing to it for two years. Charging for upgrades beyond what the contract stipulates is understandable. Now, if Verizon is also planning to charge this fee after the contract expires, then this is a problem. (Especially since the trend with handsets is to force upgrades by building in planned obsolescence with sealed batteries and routinely delaying or halting OS updates early.)

We'll have to wait and see their official announcement to get all the details and rules with this change so customers know exactly where they stand.

Most all the carriers charge an activation fee. Even though Sprint's pricing is much lower, overall, they charge something like $36 for activation.

As if $300 for a new device and at least $30/mo for data doesn't line their pockets enough. We need some economical competition in this market.

Sprint is working fine for me. Great coverage where i live. Low data speeds are a problem but no dropped calls in probably several months and I save lots of money every month. Plus their getting lte this year. So for now sprint is still the better option.

Oh LTE coming to you from sprint eh? Well then you will pay is about ready to increase to 10.00/monthly Even if you don't have a 4g phone. LOL.

AT&T Sprint Tmobile plus all the other small carriers i.e. U.S. Cellular and the hundreds of prepay carriers. What more competition do you need? There is a reason VZW has dominated the industry. Superior Service, Plain and simple.

The problem is that all the small carriers use AT&T and Verizon cell towers where their coverage doesn't exist. Even Sprint and Tmobile uses Verizon and AT&T cell towers. What we need is another nationwide supplier that doesn't need to use any other supplier's equipment.

So a $30 fee for somebody to change a phone on your account. Awesome. Also, you'll make a lot more on eBay or Craigslist for your old phone. Galaxy Nexus appraises for $180 on Verizon's trade in program.

I think the fee is only when you upgrade a phone via renewal. At least thats how it is with sprint. You only pay the fee when you renew. When you swap your phone for another one there is no fee.

More specifically, this fee only applies if you order through customer service (phone or store). Order through the website, or through amazon, or through any other venue, this fee does not apply. I just confirmed this with customer service.

Sprint's fee is $35 for upgrading, unfortunately because the big three all have the fee there is no getting away from it.

When you get your bill with the "upgrade fees" you call in and tell them to transfer you to retentions. Then you tell them you have spoken to the competitors and they are willing to wave upgrade/activation fees if you join them. You will be put on hold for them to "check for notes", then when they come back you will be told "as a one time courtesy we will wave these fees".

I have had every activation/upgrade fee waved "as a one time courtesy" every single time over the last fifteen years. There is no reason to ever pay for the "privilege" of signing a two year contract of guaranteed payments. If they don't want your two years of money without upgrade fees, someone else definitely will.

It is $36 on Sprint too. Though I have gotten out of it every time just by asking. I think if they get the slightest hint you may leave they will wave it though it has been almost two years since I have upgraded through them so maybe their policy is more strict now.

They used to be cool about waiving that. But they're more bureaucratic these days, it seems, getting someone that is actually authorized to do something is increasingly difficult. I've even asked them what it is that I get out of this fee and they're unable to give me an answer.

"I've even asked them what it is that I get out of this fee and they're unable to give me an answer."

Just a wild guess, more money...

They usually waive the fee if you purchase the phone through the Sprint site. Plus they ship overnight/2nd day for free. I wonder if VZW is going to do the same thing. I think they do it because they aren't having to give a cut to BB or the Shack, etc.

So Verizon is telling me that when my contract is up I might as well switch companies. Thanks for the advice Verizon.

what the bloody hell is this nonsense? there's no way vzw isn't making money hand over fist with all the smartphones and unlimited texting users out there.

I am with Rogers in Canada and have not paid the $30 admin fee for the last 10 phones we activated. OK maybe we did pay, but all the money came back to us as it was taken off of our bill monthly. Threaten to quit or ask for Customer Retention. This is the only way Rogers has retained me. Getting great discounts now on everything.

Again this is an ADMIN fee. In or out of contract.

maybe drop this fee and charge per use for the Wireless Workshops, online educational tools, and consultations with experts? the problem is nobody uses those tools and they need a way to fund them because they already have so much invested in them.

Exctly. I don't know a single soul that uses these workshops. Why should I pay for something I will never use? I know I can get the fee waived and all. I won't have a prob with that. I just don't like the reason they decided to use to charge.

So let me get this straight, if I want a new phone.. I have to sign another 2 year contract, at a minimum cost of $2,400.00 pay for the phone, Samsung GNX $299.00 and now another $30.00 just for the privilege of continuing to be a Verizon customer. WTF Verizon. These prepaid companies that are popping up allover the place are looking better every day, and guess what, all my contracts are up this year.

Guess I'll be taking my four lines and looking else where.

I hoping this is a sign that carrier subsidies are beginning to become too costly to maintain. We need to get away from the contract model.

I think it's a bit of collusion that all handsets seem to cost 500$ plus no matter what and then you get them for a "deal" on contract. There is no reason for many smart phones to have such high MSRP.

I was told numerous times by a customer support lady at Verizon that they pay MSRP for the devices. That's complete bull shit. They'd be hemorrhaging so much cash if they had to pay even NEAR full price for these devices.

Considering that a Smartphone is basically a computer, including dual core processors, usb port, AMOLED displays. All in a very compact form with a cellular antenna, GPS other things that computers don't have, I'd say 500.00 is pretty cheap.

Don't kid yourself, they will never abandon the contract model. consider this scenario, If you are not on contract you could leave their service at the slightest provocation (such as this Admin Fee crap) without any penalty but because we are under contract it makes leaving a costly proposition.
They have us by the proverbial balls and that's the way they want to keep it.

I have never heard of anyone taking advantage of any of those "perks" they listed, that all Verizon customers will now have to pay for.

I've never attended any Wireless Workshops, don't care about the educational tools and am still looking for the "experts who provide advice and guidance on devices that are more sophisticated than ever" at any of Verizon's points of contact. Will the fee be waived in this case?

+1 Since I provide my own tech support, I'll pass on the bundled extras. Even at the big "Verizon Experience Store" in the mall, there isn't more than one employee who can answer typical questions with facts rather than some bullshit sales-speak.

Next thing you know when they you walk in the door and an employee happens to open the door for you, they'll say welcome to Verizon, can I please have your account number to charge the $1.50 "door holding fee".

Every carrier has these fees, I guess you can't get away from it, but it seems wrong to charge for services to maintain your account, like paying a bill, upgrading your phone, etc as these are costs of the business and should be included in the service fee you pay every month, your already paying for service and this is what all these items they want to charge for service.

It seems that your already paying an upgrade fee by buying the device, if they are saying the devices cost more than they are priced at, just be honest and raise the price of the devices, stop letting apple dictate to you that you have to sell the iphone at $199.

So, no more early upgrades?

"Big Red will charge you $30 for the privilege of upgrading your device on contract."

Taken literally - one could wait until after their contract ends and upgrade w/o the fee....

Verizon - the company that will nickle and dime you to the competition! Next thing you know, they will start charging you to call their customer service line!

Could be correct, they already changed the 1 1/2 for a upgrade to 20 months, this could be an attempt to get people to wait the full 2 years for a new phone, though I doubt it will keep most of the people here waiting those extra 3 - 6 months depending on when you last upgraded.

I already know I'll be forking over the $30 in November instead of waiting until March lol.

This. Sure you probably can't afford to be the brand new hotness off contract but if you're willing to accept a slightly older phone you can get some pretty good deals on ebay and you don't have to deal with contracts.

Just yesterday I bought a Nexus S 4g, Mint Condition, for $160 shipped. Not a bad deal if you ask me.

Joke's on you guys.

Verizon would love nothing more than for you to just keep paying "contract" monthly fees without ever costing them the money they have to pay to subsidize a new handset every couple years.

Don't think you are sticking it to them by paying them month-to-month without a contract. You're still paying the same monthly amount as a person that got a subsidized phone, only you are paying full (market) price for outdated phones.

-Suntan

But you ultimately have the upper hand in being able to change carriers at any time without early termination fees. :)

The important question is will you? I know I won't and even if I do it in most cases it doesn't pay.

If you stay with them for 2 years with a phone you've bought yourself (which would be most people's experience) you just gave them $250+ dollars more than the person who got the subsidized phone and you paid for your own phone at full price.

Say you do leave even with a contract, Termination fee is $350 if take the phone and I quit the month after I sign the contract, now if I take that phone that I now have and sell it on ebay after I terminate the contract and in most cases a one month old phone, assuming I buy a top of the line model (which I always do) will almost always be in the $350 - $500 range. All your really paying when you pay a termination fee is the cost of subsidized phone that was supposed to be spread over the course of the contract.

If I wanted the same phone the month it came out the phone say the galaxy nexus was about $650 which is the termination fee $350 + the in store price $300, you really don't lose much by ditching a carrier and paying the etf.

When I terminated my contract with AT&T and sold my 3GS about a year after i bought it, I sold the phone for more than the termination fee.

Agreed, if your planning on sticking with a Verizon post-paid account you are actually helping them if you don't take the subsidized phone and contract, they make extra money each month on your account since they don't have to pay for the phone and you get a out of date phone.

I plan on sticking with verizon, I love the lte and have grandfathered unlimited data, so I'll take my subsidized phone even if it's $230 - $330 with this extra fee, it's still cheaper than buying a new phone at retail.

If you feel you may switch in the next two years it's a different story.
But as a whole, post-paid accounts don't churn very much so for the majority of post-paid users buying your own phone is a bad idea.
The only exception is T-mobile I think they are giving a slightly cheaper monthly price now for people who bring their own phone or pay for it upfront.

That is correct and incorrect. Verizon benefits from being able to go to shareholders and bondholders and say "we have this many people under contract for the next 8 quarters".

That's revenue stability and it helps to support a higher stock price.

OTOH, they do save a couple of hundred dollars if you bring your own phone BUT they risk losing you on any given month.

Wall Street punishes your stock price for instability.

Good point, or trade in your old phone thru VZW's trade in program. Just traded in my old Thunderbolt for a Nexus myself. Got 60.00 for the Thunderbolt. I originally paid 150.00 So thats pretty good return. Or sell your old phone on Ebay or something. Anything to cover the additional cost of upgrading.

With build your own plan services like Ting I am beginning to wonder if I need to be with a big tel co. like VZW. They really are going to nickle and dime me to another provider.

However in all fairness I like to upgrade through Amazon on the cheap anyways, you have to pay the service fee there regardless.

"This fee will help us 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."

Nobody uses this crap! Insanity.

What they want to really do is keep upping the price until you pay full retail for the phone, and then still get you to sign a contract. Isn't happening. Some of the serivces that just give you a SIM card are looking better all the time.

What a load of crap. I checked out one of their workshops to see if it might help my wife better utilize her phone and found it to be totally useless. As far as "help us continue to provide customers with the level of service and support they have come to expect" I would hope $30 per new device would get me better customer support because what I have come to expect is that VZW is the last place I want to go for support. AC is my go to for support.

Looks like it is time to shop the competition.

I think its time for the internet to get loud again. Push back people, tweet em, youtube hate, facebook destruction. If costs are rising for poor old Verizon...be upfront and charge it where people can see it. On the phones and service...earn the right Verizon. =P

I'm sure they'll tempt everyone with a $50 early upgrade offer to get them in the store and then tack on the $30 on contract upgrade fee near the end of the hour long process. People who aren't aware of the fee will be so close to having their new phone, they'll just pay it.

Verizon only loses $20 for early upgrades as opposed to $50.

People who don't follow tech news sites will be blindsided. I think the best thing we can do is help this information become common knowledge so everyone is educated enough to just tear up those $50 offers when they arrive in the mail.

There are two malls in my area with Verizon stores near the food courts. Our great country grants me the freedom to hand out flyers in those malls with this information on it so no one is caught off guard.

This news is butter and it's time to spread the word.

Wow, I was unaware that Verizon was running a charity and not a business. Seriously, it's $30 every two years, which you can most likely get waived.

Apparently you aren't aware of all the other bullshit fees Verizon charges and their outrageous prices. The $30 is just the tip of the iceberg. And where does it stop? $30 every 2 years doesn't seem like much, but it's the principle.

With any business that I have dealings with, I expect them to charge me for the service that they provide. I don't attend workshops for my phone, it seems no one does. If they need an extra $30 from each customer every two years, they need to charge more for the phone or charge more for the plan. Blindsiding customers with a BS fee just seems disrespectful to me.

McDonalds doesn't charge me a fee of $2 for cleaning the bathroom. It is covered in the cost of the meal.

In other words, people aren't upset that they're charging $30(some are), they're upset that they're outright lying to consumers and claiming workshops are the reason for the fee.

So is this fee for when you upgrade the device during a contract (without renewing contract), or when you upgrade with the discounted price and renew your contract, or both? April 22nd happens to be the date of my eligibility for discounted upgrade price....

Seems to me it's the price if you upgrade before your contract is over, I'm eligible for an upgrade in November, at which I'd have to pay this upgrade fee, because I'm under contract. If I wait until the day after my contract expires and I'm technically month to month now, I don't pay the upgrade fee because I'm not on contract, that's how I read it.

When u realty think about it its not that big of a deal. For those of you who are thinking about switching companies for 30 something dollars that new company is gonna charge u the same price for activation fees so its pointless to complain about it.

Slave really? Are you forced to sign a new contract with VZW or Sprint or AT&T or T Mobile or anyone else that charges upgrade fees?

Lol... a petition, how cute. Heres an idea buddy, if you don't like it go somewhere else. The fact is that Verizon invests billions of dollars into its network. Into toys and services that lead the industry and now 90 million Americans enjoy. Things like the largest and fastest 4g lte network, free workshops for customers in stores. Americans demand the best coverage and Verizon has been able to beat the competition by investing its profits back into its network. I'm surprised Verizon hasn't done this a long time ago. I'm a former Sprint customer and there is no way im' going back to an inferior service and network.

LOL a monopolistic capitalist, how cute.

Remember the $2 fee to pay your bill? That didn't last long.

It's not the money, it's the billing "scheme" that infuriates.

I and many others would just prefer to buy our phones then pay one price for the service. Period. Verizon would rather resort to subsidies, hidden fees, small print, ETFs etc etc.

If Verizon wanted this to be hidden they probably wouldn't have announced it... just sayin. Be thankful they didn't do it 2 or 3 years ago with the other carriers.

monopolistic capitalist is an oxymoron as well lol. Capitalists like competition which the wireless industry is about as competitive as it gets. Also sherlock, if you don't like subsidies or etf's, you can pay full price! Guess what YOU WON'T HAVE TO PAY THE UPGRADE FEE EITHER!!

*shakes fist at VZW*

Well this reaffirms my tradition of picking up new handsets on the cheap on Black Friday. So if my VZW Galaxy Note costs me $30.01 to upgrade it won't seem quite so bad.

This is why "letting the market and competition sort itself out" doesn't work. One company discovers it can get away with being a @&#*%$ and screwing over the customer, the other companies in the same market all follow suit so that they can get a piece of that pie too, knowing that a user can't switch carriers because of it if they're ALL doing it. Happens over and over and over again with stupid additional "fees" and not just cell phones (air lines, etc).

AT&T reps aren't even allowed to waive the fee anymore. They CAN, however, discount your phone's cost for an equivalent amount, which is what they offer to do for me. So you're not any worse off money-wise, but you don't succeed very well sending a message back to HQ about what these fees are doing to customer sentiment.

I guess I've missed a few things. I always paid the $18 as an early upgrade fee because I upgrade pretty much yearly. When did that change to all upgrades and AT&T start charging $36?

Because, you know, it's sooo expensive havig the salesperson push a few buttons on that computer in front of them. At least Verizon could call it something like a SIM card fee, or something else similarly lame. But to simply say they need more money for training? Tell ya what, Verizon: have your salespeople read sites like Android Central so they know what the Hell is going on. Problem solved.

Well the FREE workshops do cost money and Verizon has also in the process of providing FREE cloud storage to all its customers for things like pictures/music. In fact I think its already available for some devices. Apple also deserves a lot of the blame here. They reap a lot more profit off of their phone than other companies do and Verizon has to pay a LOT more for an Iphone than they do say a Motorolla or samsung Device. Of course, we android users know the superiority of our devices anyway.

I knew that this was gonna happen all telco are trying to subsidize less. The phones are getting expensive sure butt I cannot imagine how this makes them think you want to upgrade what do you get on a contract a nexus will be 330 at reatil I wanna say it's 650 so for two years you get about 15 bucks a month to sign and they get guaranteed revenue. Dunno might have to give sprint a shot if they still give 125 to switch over on top of contract pricing. or even prepay. Heck there is a prepay provider where I live that uses verizon's network and cost a ton less.

Postpaid is for suckers. So many better options available now for smartphone users on Simple Mobile, T-Mobile, Virgin Mobile, Boost...etc. All contract-free, if only people can do 24-month math.

we, as a community and as citizens, have began to "just accept" too much.. the trend of these big wireless companies has become "take away the perks, add more fees." it's ridiculous.. and for us to say "well all the carriers do it, " is even more ridiculous.. because they all do it doesn't make it ok.. everything is getting more and more expensive and we've become accustomed to "just dealing with it.." the rich getting richer and the poor getting poorer.. and don't get it confused.. in these days if you're not making half a million a year, you're pretty much poor.. long sigh.. we're becoming a nation of slaving mindless zombies.. i'm ready for the zombie apocalypse.. fight back

So its $300 for the phone. $30 activation fee. $35 upgrade fee? Glad I got my Galaxy Nexus. Won't be buying anything from vzw in a while. And the lte speeds are tired in my area. Not the 25000 mbps that I see in larger areas. No more phones from version. For a long while anyway. Nickel and dime much? Like room service in a hotel except more ridiculous.

haha verizon customers u guys need to shut it cuz u know damn well ur still going to pay it ur precious LTE is too important. shut up and pay up slaves

Is it me or should you be rewarded for signing up with them for another 2 years?
I'll never go with an upgrade again. I'll be buying outright from negri or something. F u vzw

The "upgrade fee" for upgrading while still on-contract and not eligible for an early upgrade should be no subsidy on the new device. (That would make the "fee" on average somewhere around $400, I think.)

Really Verizon? If you really want to royally piss off your loyal customers, this seems like a great idea. But considering that is typically not a business practice sought after, I would say this is downright ridiculous. This is strike 2 in my eyes Verizon. One more ignorant move, and you'll be losing this happy customer of 6 years. I'd rather give ALL of my money to a homeless man than a single payment to greedy company that do not respect, care for, or take care of their customers.

The only reason I'm still with VZ is I have a grandfathered unlimited data account. If it wasn't for that I'd be switching carriers every 2 years to take advantage of the new customer deals. It almost seems as if carriers want to penalize their existing customers. I'm sure that's not the case, but giving that impression is, IMO, foolish.

None of the reasons listed in that excerpt show any benefit for me, and with the shoddy way that things have been going, talk about a bold face move. Living in NYC i have seen the signal strength of my nexus go from having three steady bars in a decline to hover around 1 on average in the past two weeks... yeah, continued standard of service. That right, shoddy service but charge more.

So, now we get the priveledge of an additional $30 for LTE service that goes out every few weeks, has nationwide outages every few months... and they still lock down the phones, limit functionality, and are quite slow to push software(os) updates out. What are we getting for this extra fee again? Useless "how to" videos and "seminars"... c'mon.

With most of their top of the line LTE phones already 249 to 299 on contract they are making it easier than ever to just pay full retail and not be locked into a contract.

Everyone on Verizon is paying for the mini-movies that the run to promote their devices...Remember the Droid Bionic commercial and the Droid Razr commercials. That's where your money is going.

I will never sign or agree to another contract. I will either purchase a device from ebay or craiglist and I will keep it moving.

What do you think will happen if we all decided to buy devices off contract?

The carriers would be thrilled that they don't have to subsidize your phone and your still paying as much as the people they had to subsidize :)

You are all full of it. Everyone threatening to leave is not going to do it because you would have left for other reasons already. You are on Verizon because they have the best network (LTE or Voice) and if you were buying off contract this will not affect you and most normal people don't upgrade early so quit making empty threats (Verizon doesn't care about EMPTY threats).

Agreed,
The reason that America doesn't have no contract options is because American's love subsidized phones, people have tried selling devices off contract devices, t-mobile offered bring your own device plans and they never caught on, we're stuck in contracts because we like cheap phones as a whole.
The reality is that unless the US chooses a mobile phone standard like Europe has with GSM and HSPDA, having no contracts wouldn't bring down prices like they do in Europe because we can't easily bring devices from one carrier to another.

Best network? What a laugh. I suffer with dropped calls several times a day not to mention voices fading in and out. I sound like the Verizon nerd on tv for constantly asking "can you hear me?" And no, I'm not in a fringe area, I live in an area with LTE and according to Verizon Worthless it has their strongest coverage.

The real problem here with cell phone carriers is that there is no competition in the market. With all the mergers you essentially only have two large national carriers, AT&T and Verizon Worthless. Sprint and T-Mobile don't have enough market share to effect any influence in the market. That leaves the big carriers free to rob and pillage, which is exactly what they're doing.

seriously. how many of you who are complaining will actually doing something about? just leave and take your business to another carrier. it's that simple. if a corporation see's an exodus, they will do something about it. just don't keep giving to the evil red empire like sheep. get a backbone and let your money do the talking. that's all i have to say about that.

This has nothing to do with continuing any kind of 'support' this is to get people to start fresh, new contracts and lose their unlimited data to avoid silly upgrade fees.

I honestly wouldn't have a problem with this if it wasn't for the fact that most high-end devices on Verizon are at the $299.99 on-contract price. That plus taxes/fees is just ridiculous, slap a few hundred bucks on top of that price and you've got no contract and a brand-new phone.

I like how it isn't applied to business customers though, complete bullshit. I wish there was a carrier as good as Verizon that wasn't so money hungry and bloated with crap like they are.

I just did some scary math I have 3 smart phones for my family with verizon. My cell plan total is $250.00 month and thats for only 2000 minutes,text,unlimited data and insurance. This inclueds the $30.00 a phone/a month for the data plan Total $90.00($1080 yr) now they want another $90 for me at plan renewal for a new upgraded phone WTF I think its time to go back to a basic phone with just texting and cut my bill of $3000.00 yr($6000.00 on 2yr contract)down to size. This is crazy my cell bill cost me more than any other utility I have even my electric running AC is cheaper. I would love to know how much of my $6000.00 in a 2yr contract is profit? No maybe I dont I would probally over react and throw phone against the wall costing me an extra $30.00.

$30.00 Fee Waived: I got the upgrade fee waived. They credited my account the 30.00 I called the 3 times expressing my anger but trying to be nice. I told them I will stay with Verizon only if they waived the upgrade fee. After the 3rd call to customer service they finally gave in. I had been with Verizon since they purchased GTE mobile. So being persistent does work.