It's time to get together and fight back on this! Paid full price at Apple store for a new phone that came with a new SIM card - they activated in the store for me which took about 10 seconds and was done electronically of course. I got charged $40 plus tax (so closer to $45); when I called Verizon to ask what service they provide me for this fee, he really couldn't answer it. Just said it's industry standard. My daughter got a new phone a couple of months ago but called Verizon herself and gave them the new SIM card number - there was no charge for activation.
This is total garbage - I filed a complaint with the FCC and will move forward and notify consumer rights activists in my home city of Philadelphia - news channels, newspaper reporters, attorney general, etc.
Just because you make it an industry standard doesn't mean it's ok - we've been FIOS customers for 25 years and have 5 lines on our Verizon Wireless account. They should be ashamed of themselves for such a blatant rip off and disregard for their customers.
When you charge a fee, you need to actually provide a comparable service!