Feeds

FCC questions Verizon's early termination fees

Wants info on 'accidental' data charges too

5 things you didn’t know about cloud backup

US regulators are demanding that Verizon Wireless explain why it's doubling early termination fees for smartphone customers and why subscribers without a data plan are charged for inadvertently accessing its mobile web service.

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) sent an open letter on Friday to the country's largest mobile phone company asking it to provide details on the policies.

Last month, Verizon hiked the early termination fee for "advanced devices" from $175 to $350.

Verizon had said that the extra charge was needed to help recoup costs of free or discounted smartphones.

The FCC wants to know what information about the higher early termination fee is provided to prospective customers, and whether customers are provided a grace period in which they can discontinue the service without being hit with the full $350 charge.

Verizon's policy does let customers who agree to pay full price for a smartphone to avoid paying a full early termination fee. Smartphones such as the BlackBerry or Droid that are discounted under a service contract are subject to the $350 fee for bailing out early.

The FCC also requested that Verizon provide details on its policy of charging customers $1.99 for accidentally accessing Verizon Wireless's Mobile Web without a data plan.

The Commission points to a recent report in the New York Times that suggested the company is using shady tactics to profit from customers who accidentally push a dedicated Mobile Web button on Verizon phones. The NYT article cites a person who claims to work for Verizon admitting that the company purposefully places the button in a location where customers are likely to inadvertently activate it. Any data sent over the mobile web network results in a minimum charge of $1.99.

Verizon was given until December 17 to respond to the FCC. A copy of the letter is available here (PDF) ®

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
6 Obvious Reasons Why Facebook Will Ban This Article (Thank God)
Clampdown on clickbait ... and El Reg is OK with this
So, Apple won't sell cheap kit? Prepare the iOS garden wall WRECKING BALL
It can throw the low cost race if it looks to the cloud
EE fails to apologise for HUGE T-Mobile outage that hit Brits on Friday
Customer: 'Please change your name to occasionally somewhere'
Time Warner Cable customers SQUEAL as US network goes offline
A rude awakening: North Americans greeted with outage drama
We need less U.S. in our WWW – Euro digital chief Steelie Neelie
EC moves to shift status quo at Internet Governance Forum
BT customers face broadband and landline price hikes
Poor punters won't be affected, telecoms giant claims
prev story

Whitepapers

Endpoint data privacy in the cloud is easier than you think
Innovations in encryption and storage resolve issues of data privacy and key requirements for companies to look for in a solution.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Advanced data protection for your virtualized environments
Find a natural fit for optimizing protection for the often resource-constrained data protection process found in virtual environments.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Next gen security for virtualised datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.