For Verizon Wireless contract customers, it just got more expensive to cancel their device contracts before the end of their two-year agreements.
Under changes the company made to its customer agreements on Nov. 14, a subscriber who has a contract for an "advanced device," such as an Apple iPhone or a Samsung Galaxy S5 or Note 4 smartphone, will no longer get a small monthly reduction in the $350 early termination fee (ETF) they have to pay to cancel if they end their contracts within the first seven months. Previously, customers would get a $10 reduction in the ETF each month for each of the first seven months of their contract, right from the start of the original agreement.
Now customers who want to end their contracts before the eighth month of their contract can do so only after paying the entire $350 ETF, according to the new contract terms. That essentially means that the fee has increased for users who want to end their contracts within the first seven months of their services.
Under the new customer service terms laid out by Verizon, the ETF will only begin to decline starting in the eighth month of the contract, when it will then be reduced by $10 a month through the 18th month of a two-year contract. From the 19th month through the 23rd month of the contract, the ETF will be reduced by $20 per month, with a final $60 fee reduction in the 24th month, according to Verizon.
Similar ETF changes were also implemented for customers who obtain basic cell phones or tablets through Verizon, according to the company. The ETF for such devices remains at $175, but a $5 per month reduction will no longer start right from the beginning of the contract, making it more costly to leave Verizon within the first seven months. Instead, ETF charges will be reduced by $5 per month only starting from the eighth month of use through the 18th month. The ETF reduction will increase to $10 per month from the 19th through 23rd months, ending with a $30 reduction in the 24th month, according to the new terms.
Customers who signed contracts with Verizon before Nov. 14 are not affected by the new ETF rates, at least until their next contracts.