$500 equipment termination fee after paying $350 early termination fee?
jh_jeon
Enthusiast - Level 2

Hello,

For some reason, my previous posting now says it is an unauthorized one and it cannot be accessed. I'm posting about a case of my girlfriend who upgraded to iPhone 5S 32G ($299.99+26.62) on December 23, 2013 with the 2-yr contract and had to cancel on January 7, 2014 since she had to leave the country. It would have been nicer if the cancellation was within 14 days, then she could simply cancel the contract and return the device without the early termination fee $350. Unfortunately, it was not the case, and she had to pay the early termination fee $350, the upgrade fee $35, and the amount for the last month usage. Everything was paid off as the terms and clauses said, and until that time, everything was fine: paid the gross amount of $299.99+26.62+350+35+more unfortunately, but kept the phone at least.

The bad story came today via an email from Rosee (removed) (Customercare@Stayconnectedwireless.com), a person from Collections Department of stayconnectedwireless.com, saying that my girlfriend will be charged the sum amount of $500 due to terminating your Verizon wireless account without returning the equipment to the store. What??? She looked at T&C very carefully before the unfortunate early termination and paid all the huge amount of fees Verizon described in its T&C for termination. The early termination fee is usually considered to account for the discount you get with the 2-yr contract. At the time of early termination, Verizon either wants the device back or the early termination fee paid, not both. Since my girlfriend already paid off all the fees, the email sounded totally weird. What will be your reaction if you paid $299.99+26.62+350+35+more which is about the full retail price and the store says you have to return the device or pay $500 more?

I had to search over the web to figure out what happened.

http://www.yelp.com/biz/verizon-wireless-stay-connected-new-york-2

http://www.yelp.com/biz/verizon-wireless-stay-connected-new-york-4

http://www.yelp.com/biz/verizon-wireless-stay-connected-new-york-5

http://www.yelp.com/biz/verizon-wireless-stay-connected-new-york-6

http://www.yelp.com/biz/verizon-wireless-stay-connected-new-york-8

http://www.yelp.com/biz/verizon-wireless-stay-connected-new-york-9

http://www.yelp.com/biz/verizon-wireless-stay-connected-new-york-10

http://www.yelp.com/biz/verizon-wireless-stay-connected-new-york-11

I understand how much anger this person Glenn P. had for these "Stay Connected Verizon Wireless" stores that are seemingly genuine Verizon Wireless stores but just premium retailers unless you look at the signboard very very very carefully. In fact, I could realize the fact today since they pretended to be genuine from many aspects. Now after reading the posting and thinking, what happened becomes very clear to me. They are not genuine Verizon Wireless but pretend to be the one, and they put a disgusting term on their receipts: if any 2-yr upgrade or new activation is cancelled within 7 months of contract, there is a $500 equipment termination fee unless the device is returned to the store in perfect condition. What this term essentially forces is, if you terminate between 14 days and 7 months, you pay all the phone price and the early termination fee properly, but you also need to return the device to this disgusting "Stay Connected Verizon Wireless" retail store or pay $500 to the "Stay Connected Verizon Wireless" retail store.

I would like to suggest a few things.

0. Look at the store names and the receipts very carefully. There are stores that are seemingly Verizon Wireless but just retailers. And the receipt may say something absurd. I believe this term is a sort of duplicate penalty (thus not legitimate) that rips off more than the retail price of the phone.

1. Do upgrade or activation from the genuine VERIZON WIRELESS. If you upgrade or activate a phone from these "STAY CONNECTED VERIZON WIRELESS" retailers and if you happen to cancel the contract between 14 days and 7 months, you have to lose your phone or pay additional $500 even if you paid off the already-huge $299.99+26.62+350+35 which is about the full retail price.

2. Verizon Wireless, I believe the company, as an influential company in the US, should carefully control the dealer quality and impose reasonable T&C for the dealer. The genuine Verizon Wireless is reasonable in that sense: either take the device back or charge the early termination fee. However, this unethical retailer does not. They first pretend to be the genuine store in many ways, put an unreasonable (perhaps not legitimate) term with small letters on their receipts without explaining the huge difference, and try to take your PAID phone away if the contract is terminated between 14 days and 7 months. I believe a reasonable T&C has to be enforced by Verizon Wireless for this retailer, or they have to be punished if they resist.

I may have to be ripped off $500 for not paying too much attention on the store name and on the receipt term which nobody will read by trust on Verizon Wireless, but no other people should suffer from the same pain.

How do you think? Thanks for any input from people or Verizon Wireless representatives.

Private info removed as required by the Terms of Service.

Message was edited by: Admin Moderator

Labels (1)
1 Solution
vzw_customer_support
Customer Service Rep

@jh.jeon,

I'm so sorry to hear that your girlfriend had to cancel her account with VZW! She will definitely be missed.

Please keep in mind that when purchasing or upgrading at a 3rd party dealer they may have their own promotions which require separate or different agreement then with VZW. You will need to contact them for additional information regarding the agreement your girl friend signed with them when she upgraded.

With VZW if you cancel you are responsible for the cancellation fee and any pending balance on the bill. You are not required to return the phone.

I apologize for all the inconvenience this situation has caused.

JohnB_VZW

Follow us on Twitter @VZWSupport

View solution in original post

20 Replies
B33
Legend

There's always extra fees or what call hidden fees when you go to third party Retail Store instead of a Corporate)  they have follow Guide-Lines set by Verizon to follow but they can also apply and early Termination fee of there own to cover there cost in such a way.. If you look really close that is if the price labels are visible & are out in the open they're higher at the third party stores I've seen this when visiting our Local Radio Shack, say your wanting to buy a Moto X it may be $200 more buying it from R.S. than it would be a the Corporate level Stores.. So you have to be on your game when you go into one of these places or they'll take ya..

vzw_customer_support
Customer Service Rep

B33, we want jh.jeon to be well informed about any fees when upgrading equipment. All disclosures regarding the Early Termination Fee, return policy, and Customer Agreement are available online at our website too. Just click http://vz.to/18odyHz for details.

LasinaH_VZW
Follow us on Twitter @VZWSupport

B33
Legend

Absolutely my thought's as well) was sadden to hear how in this case the customer was charged. as they were that's not good business..

0 Likes
jh_jeon
Enthusiast - Level 2

Thanks for the answer.

Yes, you are correct. If I knew the store is 3rd-party, I would first avoid and then read T&C more closely. But the store signboard and interior were very deceptive to confuse people.

In general, unless it is a very nice deal from a credible dealer (I think Best Buy was at least okay), you should better to deal directly with the genuine Verizon Wireless.

0 Likes
vzw_customer_support
Customer Service Rep

jh.jeon,

I understand your concern and truly apologize for this situation. I replied to your first message, but I do see some personal information was included; in order to protect your privacy, the post may have been moderated but I assure you, it was not ignored. Though our strategic partners may have different policies for line cancellations, we definitely want to make sure we advise you of it; I can look into this and submit the appropriate feedback. Please accept my follow request, follow me and send a Direct Message.

AdaS_VZW
Follow us on Twitter at @VZWSupport

vzw_customer_support
Customer Service Rep

@jh.jeon,

I'm so sorry to hear that your girlfriend had to cancel her account with VZW! She will definitely be missed.

Please keep in mind that when purchasing or upgrading at a 3rd party dealer they may have their own promotions which require separate or different agreement then with VZW. You will need to contact them for additional information regarding the agreement your girl friend signed with them when she upgraded.

With VZW if you cancel you are responsible for the cancellation fee and any pending balance on the bill. You are not required to return the phone.

I apologize for all the inconvenience this situation has caused.

JohnB_VZW

Follow us on Twitter @VZWSupport

jh_jeon
Enthusiast - Level 2

Hello,

Thanks for answering. My posting had been blocked for some time, so I thought Verizon simply did not like the posting. Now I discovered this posting was re-opened.

To clarify, I have been using Verizon for 7 years, and I'm well aware of all the Verizon charges, fees, and T&C in the process of properly upgrading phones multiple times. The point is that, the retail store "STAY CONNECTED VERIZON WIRELESS" in NY has deceptive signboard and interior that are sufficient to enforce or confuse customers to believe the store is a genuine Verizon Wireless. And, they inserted unreasonable and unacceptable term on the receipt about the termination (very problematic between 14 days and 7 months). However, they did not notify at all about those (3rd party and termination). If I knew the store was 3rd party, I would have read T&C very closely. Actually, you can see that all the angry yelp reviews by Glenn P. also point out the deceptive signboard part. The person also thought the store was genuine Verizon Wireless until the collection department contacted for the astonishing $500. Later, basically they softly threaten to report for a negative record if you do not return the PAID phone or pay the extra $500.

Apart from the deceptive signboard and interior, I want to simplify the example for the unreasonable T&C as follows. As a customer, I paid for the discounted phone price $299.99+tax, the upgrade fee $35, and the early termination fee $350. At that point, the genuine Verizon Wireless does not take the phone away and all the business is done since the early termination fee compensates the discount. When the weird retail store kicks in, they suddenly require the phone back or $500 equipment termination fee paid because the termination was between 14 days and 7 months from the contract. I don't think they truly have a legal right or basis to do that since it is a duplicate penalty which is also very excessive, but I just respected the one ugly sentence on the receipt about the unreasonable $500 equipment termination fee. Anyway, the full retail price is $749, and the total payment with this retail store became easily more than $1,200 or I have to return the PAID phone (~$700) to them. What an easy business from their sides! I believe Verizon Wireless, once you know about this unethical retail store, you should take a proper action. I would understand a bit more about special T&C if they provided special discounts as Best Buy or Walmart, but the discounted price was exactly same with Verizon Wireless. Is there any justification about the $500 equipment termination fee? Possibly you can have $100 or so to minimize the damage as a 3rd-party store, but not $500.

When I contacted the collection department of stayconnectionwireless.com, the person tried to justify $500, but I just told one thing: I know the genuine Verizon Wireless does not charge the weird equipment termination fee once the early termination fee $350 is paid. The person became silent after my comments because I knew Verizon's T&C very well. However, I had to pay $500 to avoid all the potential legal issues. Normally the good way to deal with this should be to pay first and take wrong things back.

My first expectation was that, Verizon Wireless would take a reasonable response on my posting. However, two postings on this Verizon forum were immediately blocked, so I had to file a complaint on FCC (Federal Communications Commision) about "Stay Connected Verizon Wireless". I don't know how much legal obligation they can impose, though.

Now, since you re-opened my posting and replied, if your company situation allows, I hope Verizon Wireless can investigate this retail store's T&C and advise not to do that. They might be the only store that excessively charges such fees as authorized 3rd-party dealers. If they resist and if I'm one of the board member in Verizon Wireless, I would control the quality of authorized 3rd-party retail stores and take proper actions to retain Verizon's credibility. I don't know whether Verizon Wireless will do that.

Please contact me if more information is needed. Thanks.

0 Likes
flutterfly8497
Specialist - Level 3

Just out of curiosity, did they say if you would get your purchase price back if you returned the phone? I ask because it seems like the $500 is the difference between the subsidized pricing or full price.  Doesn't seem fair you would have to pay $500 AND return the phone, basically forcing you to pay full price for a device they would then turn around and sell to someone else.  Bad deal all around.  I hope you are able to get things resolved.

0 Likes
jh_jeon
Enthusiast - Level 2

If they get $500 and act as a complete agent, i.e., compensate the early termination fee $350, I would somewhat understand. But $350 is paid to Verizon, and at that point, usually the discounted phone price and $350 are about the full retail price. After that, this store wants $500 to them. In this case, the phone was the newest iPhone 5S, and I essentially overpaid. However, if the phone is a free or cheap phone with 2-yr contract, you would be in a different trouble. You simply lose $350+$500.

They say a few unreasonable things on the receipt. (There are lots of typos and I corrected here.)

- Exchange and or cancellations within 14 days only (they do not want to give the purchase price back after 14 days, and you are easily in a $500-or-the-phone trap after 14 days and before 7 months)

- Exchanges or returns must be in perfect condition and with original packaging and all bar codes and labels attached (who knows they will say the return is imperfect...)

- A $500 Equipment termination fee applies on any 2 year upgrade or new activation cancelled within 7 months of contract unless returned to a stay connected location in perfect condition. ($500 applies when the phone is not returned. However, remember that phone is already (sort of) PAID by the discounted purchase $299.99+tax and the early termination fee $350.)

0 Likes
jh_jeon
Enthusiast - Level 2

also, by the way, I could see an answer for the other posting. The answer was

We definitely want to clear up this confusion; I know it's important for your girlfrien to receive an accurate bill and that is certainly a top priority of ours as well. There are many factors we need to review that are impacting this disconnect and the overall fees. Please have her contact us directly so we can review her account and clarify all the charges.

However, the posting is locked, and I cannot answer. She is already out of the country, so I paid for all the charges. You can contact me if needed. Also, to clarify, the billing with Verizon Wireless was perfect. Simply, the retail store "Stay Connected Verizon Wireless" demands something insane. I just wanted some actions from Verizon Wireless as a company that authorized the retail store "Stay Connected Verizon Wireless" to deal with Verizon products.

0 Likes
flutterfly8497
Specialist - Level 3

Verizon should be monitoring the activity and policies of their third-party stores, and pull the franchise if policy is not in the best interests of the customers, because a situation like this doesn't reflect as badly on the store as it does Verizon.  Basically as if the right hand has no idea (or desire to know) what the left hand is doing.  It's Verizon's job to ensure quality of service in these reseller stores, not the customer's.

verizonregret
Enthusiast - Level 1

Okay, there  is CLEARLY a relationship between Verizon and these 3rd party retailers.  The location I purchased a phone from has a HUGE Verizon sign and is completely wrapped in Verizon logos colors and the like.  It is not like a BestBuy store branded in BestBuy logos and decor selling Verizon products... it is labeled as a Verizon store, overwhelmingly branded in Verizon logos and decor.  It looks like Verizon - but apparently it is not. 

I have a similar situation, where I was in a situation where I did not have my paperwork with me when needing to cancel my phone service - and called Verizon to determine what penalties would apply if I were to cancel my cellular service.  I was on the phone with the agent for 20 minutes (maybe more) while they gave me alternate options to reduce my fees and find the best way to reduce my financial obligation.  I asked the agent to be 100% clear about what charges I would be responsible for if cancelling - as i did not have access to my receipt/paperwork. 

She, with 100% certainty and assurance, explained that I'd ONLY be responsible for the $350 termination.  Now, if Verizon were really interested in making sure their customers understand that there is a 3rd party that could come after you for charges, then they should advise of this when a customer cancels their service.  Even if the 'real Verizon' that I am speaking to over the phone doesn't have access to my account information/purchase terms, they CERTAINLY could have mentioned to me that charges may apply from the "Verizon branded" retail store where I purchased the phone.  No sweat off their back to do that!  I mean really, how was I to know that the Verizon I speaking with over the phone was not the Verizon (alleged Verizon/business posing as Verizon) Store that I bought the phone from.

jh_jeon
Enthusiast - Level 2

Sorry to hear about the similar trouble.

Before, I was only upset about the retailer's deceiving decor, hidden/untold contract, and Verizon's retailer quality control. But after hearing you,  Verizon should also get blamed for not warning properly about this 3rd party cancellation trap at cancellation. I believe this trouble originates from somewhere fundamentally wrong. I hope I'm a rich person who can lead a lawsuit to evil 3rd parties hiding evil contracts, but unfortunately I'm not.

The minimal action I could take was filing a complaint to FCC, and Verizon contacted me for that about 2 weeks ago. Obviously, they say they cannot reimburse the  fee the 3rd party charged to us and I actually didn't expect much. Since the officer looked like a person with more authorities, I complained about the deceiving decor and hidden/untold contract, and I hoped Verizon could control the retailer quality better to protect Verizon customers. The officer said someone will work on it and will contact me for the progress if any. That is about the follow-up for now. Perhaps, you can file a complaint to FCC like me, and at least you will have a chance to make your voice to someone with more authorities. Perhaps, after people's sacrifice like us, the situation may be changed in the long run if Verizon is a company that hears customers carefully.

0 Likes
Synicasm
Enthusiast - Level 2

I know this is months Later. 

But I TOTALLY Agree the signage at these locations it TOTALLY deceiving.  People Think they are going to an actual Verizon location and are Cheated on prices and services.

Verizon should totally Look into their policy on this.  Sadly a new Customer is already upset with their purchase giving the Verizon Corporation a bad name.

pherson
Champion - Level 1

I'm not sure why there are still posts on this.

The Verizon rep clearly stated that 3rd party agents have terms and conditions,  and the OP knew going in that it was a 3rd party reseller. The terms should have beenread, the rreceipt should have been read, it was not. There was nothing unethical and there is nothing further Verizon has to do. Bottom line read what you sign up for. To recoup some losses, go sell the phone. Case closed.

0 Likes
jh_jeon
Enthusiast - Level 2

I do not agree on several things.

First, I did not know this was a 3rd party due to their deceptive store name, signboard, and interior. Look at carefully how many people posted yelp reviews for that aspect. I'm not the only idiot who was confused, meaning that I might be just normal or everyone is an idiot. I personally have bad eyesight and entered after seeing the big logo of Verizon, not the tiny store name which I could see only recently from google search images. Do you think the retailer was ETHICAL in advertising their store name? There are quite many 3rd party retailers that you enter with knowing the fact, but this case seems evil in another level. "Stay Connected" is the phrase Verizon Wireless uses a lot in advertisement, and even that name is hard to read.

Second, they did not give me any T&C, and the lines on the receipt I got AFTER I SIGNED FOR PHONE PAYMENT are all. My fault is that I did not read it carefully, so I had to pay the extra $500 fee after cancellation. Even if I read it, actually the situation is not very different since the receipt says enormous restocking fee. I believe such behaviors easily qualify for the unethical company. Do you think any term can be included in T&C if you want to write?

Third, I already paid off the extra $500. I just suggested to Verizon for better future and wanted to inform other people who would get potential damages by not knowing about this store especially and 3rd-party retailer in general. When I heard about $500 EQUIPMENT TERMINATION FEE which I have never heard, google search did not give me any result. Now, google search finds this posting. I believe my posting positively contributed to the searchable knowledge pool. I'm not sure whether you are the expert who knows about every issue, but many people do not know, including the previous myself.

Eadur
Contributor - Level 3

How can a person tell if they are in a genuine Verizon Wireless Store, or one of these 3rd Party Verizon Wannabees??  If I went to a store with a huge Verizon Wireless Sign outside, and is completely wrapped in Verizon Wireless logos, Verizon name tags,  Verizon decor, and so forth, selling just Verizon Wireless products, I would believe that I was in a genuine Verizon Wireless store.

0 Likes
Synicasm
Enthusiast - Level 2

I guess you have to just ask..  Or you can look the location up at their website.. 

Find a Store | Verizon Wireless Store Locator

* Notice the checkmark below the Search box to include authorized retailers ?

( hind sight is 50/50 and buyer beware etc. I guess.. sigh.)

elliew
Specialist - Level 1

I believe the 3rd party stores are now  including the term "Premier Retailer" on their signage.

0 Likes
Ann154
Community Leader
Community Leader

Third party retailers have been required to have their company name and retailer language in their signage since before 2009. It isn't a new requirement.

I'm most definitely NOT a VZW employee. If a post answered your question, please mark it as the answer.

0 Likes