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Verizon Takes a Beating For $1.99 Mystery Fee Denial
And for claiming their new $350 ETF is about helping the poor...
by Karl Bode 01:15PM Tuesday Dec 22 2009
Last week we reported how Verizon finally got around to responding to the FCC's inquiry into higher early termination fees (ETFs) -- and a phantom $1.99 fee users have been complaining about for years. While the higher ETF got most of the press, Verizon's denial of their obnoxious $1.99 mystery fee (despite the claims of thousands of customers, their own customer refunds and even a Verizon whistle blower) is the bigger story. The New York Times' David Pogue, whose coverage broadly publicized the fee months after it was exposed by the Cleveland Plain Dealer, has this to say about Verizon's denial:
How about the 400 people who chimed in to say, 'Me too!' in the comments of my original post? Are they all idiots? How about me? I found several of those $1.99 charges on my own bills. How about the Verizon whistleblower who has begged his managers to change this greedy scheme, and been told to shut up? Is he mistaken? And if there's no problem, and everything's hunky-dory, how come Verizon has quietly been offering refunds of up to $100 to people who've been socked by the accidental $2 fees?
Pogue's e-mail exchange with Verizon Wireless spokesman Jeffrey Nelson is particularly amusing:
"I'm going to let the letter to the FCC speak for us," he said. "I'm not able to comment further."

"But you're saying that you don't charge that $1.99 fee!" I told him. "Yet it's happened to hundreds of my readers, and it's happened to me. So what are we missing?"

"I'm going to let the letter to the FCC speak for us."

"But it just says Verizon isn't doing it!"

"I'm going to let the letter to the FCC speak for us."
Of course this was a Verizon letter that pretended their ETF hikes were about helping the poor, so denying the existence of a bogus $1.99 charge that has impacted thousands of customers was about par for the course. Verizon's likely being quiet because they don't want state Attorney Generals or class action lawsuit attorneys to notice that there may be millions of dollars owed Verizon customers. If the FCC doesn't push Verizon harder on the extreme BS (even by Verizon lobbyist and lawyer standards) they tried to pass off as legitimate discourse in last week's filing, Verizon Wireless customers may have to give the FCC a little kick.

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