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FCC Inquires About Controversial Verizon Fees 178

olsmeister writes "As previously noted here on Slashdot, Verizon Wireless has been increasing their early termination fees and actively charging non-data customers who accidentally press the wrong button and go online. The FCC has now sent them a letter asking why. The PDF of the letter can be viewed online. Maybe someone at the FCC does read Slashdot."
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FCC Inquires About Controversial Verizon Fees

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  • Riiight (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday December 05, 2009 @09:19AM (#30334428)

    Maybe someone at the FCC does read Slashdot

    Or they read New York Times, which Slashdot quoted in the said article.

    • Re:Riiight (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Idiomatick ( 976696 ) on Saturday December 05, 2009 @10:25AM (#30334680)
      Honestly members of the FCC are totally the type of people that would read /. I don't think it would be that shocking if a few of them read /..
    • Slashdot is nice in that in condenses news articles from hundreds of sources. It is quite possible that there is someone in the FCC that reads /. It is also possible that said person does not read the NYT.

      • Slashdot is nice in that in condenses news articles from hundreds of sources. It is quite possible that there is someone in the FCC that reads /. It is also possible that said person does not read the NYT.

        And very likely their boss does read the NYT

    • Or they read New York Times, which Slashdot quoted in the said article.

      I thought nobody read newspapers any more?

  • Just a letter? (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward

    Letters aren't going to do a damn thing to stop the abuses of the communication corporations.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Dumnezeu ( 1673634 )

      Maybe letters from you don't work, but letters from the FCC usually work. I've had a problem with a bank once, I wrote them and they completely ignored me. After 30 days, I've asked for help from a governmental organization, they wrote to the bank and a couple of days letter I had my answer AND the problem was fixed thanks to a simple inquiry sent by the right person/organization.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Idiomatick ( 976696 )
        It is often helpful to ask your lawyer if he'll write letters for you when dealing with companies/institutions. They see the legal letterhead and go hmmmmmm it'll be way easier to just fix this. If you are specific and just need a letter it is generally quite cheap.
        • which is nice if you have a lawyer friend or an attorney on retainer...wheres the poll on /., id love to see how many people actually pay for that, or would be willing to spend the money to have a lawyer do such a thing.
          • My uncle's a lawyer, you insensitive clod!

        • by Myopic ( 18616 )

          Yes, of course. That rule applies generally. I was having a tax dispute with the IRS. Luckily for me, I knew I was right, and the IRS would eventually reach the same conclusion, but they were so overloaded with work generally that they kept delaying my case. (This was just a minor paperwork issue, not a court case.) In the meantime, I frankly really needed the money, which was a small amount, but I was broke. So after months of delays, I wrote my congresswoman -- immediately, I got cc'd on a letter her offi

    • by tepples ( 727027 ) <> on Saturday December 05, 2009 @09:40AM (#30334500) Homepage Journal
      The FCC gave Verizon two weeks to reply. And when a government entity or a large company sends someone a letter as serious as this, it usually has a statement to the effect "We'll take your silence to imply refusal to cooperate. If push comes to shove, we will take it to court."
      • by postbigbang ( 761081 ) on Saturday December 05, 2009 @09:52AM (#30334544)

        The threat of litigation doesn't mean as much as it used to. It costs the gov the same $$ go send lawyers, do depositions, get into discovery, try and settle, then go to trial as it does the plaintiff (Verizon in this case).

        That said, at least Obama's regime is doing something visible about outrageous telco behavior. The prior regime would have done a thumbs-up to Verizon.

        • by Shakrai ( 717556 ) on Saturday December 05, 2009 @09:59AM (#30334572) Journal

          That said, at least Obama's regime is doing something visible about outrageous telco behavior

          There's a lot that Verizon does that's outrageous but does this really fall into that category? I've always found it absurd that they charge the same ETF for a el-cheapo no-frills candy bar phone as they do for a top of the line smartphone. If the theory behind the ETF is the amount of money they front to subsidize your device then shouldn't it stand to reason that the ETF should change according to the value of the device that you receive?

          In any event, I think it would be a better use of the FCC's limited time and resources if they were to hold Verizon to it's promise to open up their network. That promise was made almost two years ago as I recall. Where's my market in non-carrier branded devices for the Verizon network?

          • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

            by Anonymous Coward

            ... If the theory behind the ETF is the amount of money they front to subsidize your device then shouldn't it stand to reason that the ETF should change according to the value of the device that you receive?

            Absolutely not! If they were to do that then someone might actually become curious as to the actual cost of the phones to Verizon. Then the fecal material would really impact the rotary air circulation mechanism.

          • One step at a time. You won't get a uniform behavior code out of the bribed (oops, campaign-contributed/heavily lobbied) congress, so heavy breathing down their neck is at least a start.

          • iDon't have AT&T. (Score:4, Insightful)

            by tepples ( 727027 ) <> on Saturday December 05, 2009 @10:12AM (#30334626) Homepage Journal

            I think it would be a better use of the FCC's limited time and resources if they were to hold Verizon to it's promise to open up their network.

            Verizon already started to cover that with the DROID DOES campaign. But even if you agree with Verizon's ETF practices, I still commend the FCC for looking into the problem of making the "bill me $1.99 for browsing the web" button so easy to accidentally press.

          • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

            by rxan ( 1424721 )
            Yes, the ETF should change depending on what device. But that isn`t the only problem. The FCC found that even when staying in contract for 23 of 24 months the ETF was only lowered to $120, when it should be much lower after that duration.
          • Where's my market in non-carrier branded devices for the Verizon network?

            Go to a phone manufacturer's website - e.g. [] and you'll find plenty of phones you can buy completely unlocked and working on Verizon's (or any other carrier's) network. You'll pay a bit more; but you'll get exactly what you are looking for.

            Works great for GSM based networks. Don't know how well for CDMA-based networks like Verizon's though since CMDA doesn't use SIM cards to switch easily between phon

            • by Shakrai ( 717556 )

              Go to a phone manufacturer's website - e.g. [] [] and you'll find plenty of phones you can buy completely unlocked and working on Verizon's (or any other carrier's) network.

              Sorry, you can't buy a phone even from Motorola that will work on the Verizon network unless it's branded for the Verizon network. This means that it comes with the crippled Verizon UI and software. Believe me, I've tried. I would pay extra money for a phone that came with the Motorola OS but if I'm going to wind up with one that has the Verizon UI on it anyway why shouldn't I take their discount and get it directly from them?

        • No it doesn't, because government lawyers are paid much less than corporate defense attorneys.

          A GS-13 attorney (mid-level; next step up would be supervisory) costs the government $45 per hour, assuming the attorney doesn't work more than their 80 hours per pay period. A similarly experienced corporate defense attorney's billable rate per hour would be about an order of magnitude higher.

          • by gravesb ( 967413 )
            Government attorneys are sunk costs and not paid by the hour. There are opportunity costs to suing someone, but there is negligible outlay of additional funds.
            • That depends a lot on where they are. Beyond simply the GS-13 base pay scale, there are locality adjustments made and someone in or near DC might actually make a lot more than $45. Consider too, if they're not in trial they're working probably just their 40 hours doing administrative/inquiry stuff.

              Send them to trial and you get to pay them for 60+ hours weekly, which costs you $67 per hour plus they accrue sick leave and vacation faster. OT is expensive.

              Technically, they are salary non-exempt. They get paid

              • by gravesb ( 967413 )
                I wish that were true. I suppose it might be different for some departments, but no matter how many hours I work in a week, I get the same salary. If I put in 70 hours one week, I get paid for 40.
          • Also keep in mind that the corporate lawyer's billable per hour doesn't reflect what that lawyer actually gets paid. Out of those billable hours has to come payment for support staff, plant overhead, liability insurance, some juice for the partners, etc. A lawyer billing out at $200/hour is seeing much much less than that, and as noted elsewhere, doesn't get paid for overtime.

        • by Myopic ( 18616 )

          Dear Verizon,

          It has come to our attention that you recently raised the cancellation fee on your phone contracts from $175 to $350 for customers who buy subsidized smart phones. We demand that you explain why you did not also raise the fee for the rest of your customers. In fact, while you're at it, you may as well up them all to $500.

          The Bush Administration

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        Sometimes, perhaps.

        Sometimes, though it just makes the company sending the letter look uninformed and foolish. If you would like to see an example of a foolish letter being sent, you can always read the Foolish Cease and Desist [] letter a corporation sent to me a few years ago.

        Obviously, the sender of the above letter was making such over the top threats, that it was clear they had no understanding of the legal process involved. I imagine the thought that this foolishness would become public information, ne

  • by Akido37 ( 1473009 ) on Saturday December 05, 2009 @09:33AM (#30334476)
    Is to protect the people. I believe protecting us from getting screwed by gigantic corporations is just as valid as protecting us from invasion.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      Is to protect the people. I believe protecting us from getting screwed by gigantic corporations is just as valid as protecting us from invasion.


      But regulation prevents innovations like this one from verizon from getting to market! /rightwing

      • by ailnlv ( 1291644 )


      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        I'm not sure what reply their lawyers will come up with, but I believe the original draft of the reply reads:

        Dearest FCC:

        Why are we screwing our customers? Because we hate our customers, and we really like money. Go away.

        Love, Verizon.

      • What innovation? (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Skapare ( 16644 )

        No innovation here. As long as the ETF represents the losses that the provider would have had because of an early termination, I see no issue with it. If the cost of the phone is subsidized by the service contract, then an ETF should be the remaining subsidized cost of the phone. That should be specific to the type of phone, and spelled out in the contract.

        Now the real question is: should the providers be allowed to even subsidize the phones via a combination service contract? I say sure because many pe

    • by selven ( 1556643 )

      You can choose to ignore Verizon. You can't choose to ignore an invading force.

      • by drinkypoo ( 153816 ) <> on Saturday December 05, 2009 @11:22AM (#30335132) Homepage Journal

        You cannot choose to ignore Verizon; they are everywhere, and they are a fact of life. They're causing you problems right now whether you realize it or not; somewhere, someone is getting frustrated with them, and getting a little more angry, which will come out in the world you live in. They're also causing economic distress which has real-world consequences. They're probably feeling the pinch of the recession; A lot of businesses have become more sleazy of late. Well, that's not true... they're just proving their sleaziness, which was already present. After all, if you have a sleaze in charge, you're sleaze. Also let's not forget that any spectrum not in use by Verizon is available for use by someone scrupulous. (Of course, the reality is that someone else unscrupulous would end up with it; that's the nature of bandwidth auctions. The People should not have to pool their money and bid to be able to use Their Ionosphere.

    • Is to protect the people. I believe protecting us from getting screwed by gigantic corporations is just as valid as protecting us from invasion.

      Why do we need protection from companies whom we have to voluntarily associate with?

    • You have to realize though, that the people have much more power than the government could ever have, and it's a power that, theoretically, can be wielded much more quickly, and deal a much harder blow. The real problem is that people get too attached to their level of comfort, and use this as an excuse to avoid any effort required to restore any balance to the often tenuous relationship between producers and consumers. Yes, it's the dreaded "b" word (boycott). People hate this word because they claim it's

    • Show me where it says anything remotely like that in the US Constitution. The only one covering your ass is you. They do have powers to regulate monopolies in interstate commerce, but until Verizon is declared one that doesn't apply.
  • How pleasant (Score:3, Interesting)

    by martas ( 1439879 ) on Saturday December 05, 2009 @09:43AM (#30334514)
    I just came a little while reading that letter. Some of the questions are worded in such a deliciously "we're going to screw you to the wall" manner... I'm starting to like the FCC more and more.
    • Re:How pleasant (Score:5, Insightful)

      by barzok ( 26681 ) on Saturday December 05, 2009 @09:52AM (#30334546)

      This is what the FCC is supposed to be doing.

      Not chasing half-second nipslips because 4 uptight housewives in Idaho get snippy about their kids seeing something they don't want them to see, after they're supposed to be in bed and asleep already.

      • by D Ninja ( 825055 )

        Not chasing half-second nipslips because 4 uptight housewives in Idaho get snippy about their kids seeing something they don't want them to see, after they're supposed to be in bed and asleep already.

        Except, it was the halftime show. Even if the kids lived on the east coast, it would only be about 9:45 at the latest. That's not that late.

    • Re:How pleasant (Score:4, Interesting)

      by Shikaku ( 1129753 ) on Saturday December 05, 2009 @09:59AM (#30334570)

      They should also make text messaging free.

      That's right. I wrote free.

      If you put the price of a voice call, in 3 seconds to the (stupidly) expensive $.15 per minute, and compare it to the 3 seconds it would take to send a text message, you will find it negligible: .15/60 = $.0025 per second. $.0025 * 3 seconds / 10kbps for the voice data transfer = $.00075 dollars per kilobyte (aside: $.771 dollars per megabyte).

      Now let's say, for the sake of generosity, it takes a 16KB packet total, up and down for ack, all carriers, etc., to send a text message.

      It would cost $0.012 by my numbers...

      Draw your own conclusions, I am just playing with units.

      • by martas ( 1439879 )
        that's the thing about telcos, they charge you not based on how much they need to charge you + profit margin (which is what most businesses do). instead, they just charge you however much they think they can get away with.
        • Re:How pleasant (Score:4, Insightful)

          by hparker ( 41819 ) on Saturday December 05, 2009 @10:17AM (#30334646)

          No. Most businesses do that. You can substitute "companies" for "telcos". That's how the free market is supposed to work.
          Competition keeps the prices down, not companies being reasonable.

          So the question should be: Is the telco market perhaps too controlled and not free enough?

          • by sjames ( 1099 )

            It is competition that is supposed to drive price to the marginal cost plus a modest profit. That's why it's extremely important to assure highly competitive markets (which the U.S. frequently fails at). In such an environment, the temptation to cheat is high and the cheaters will win every time if they're not carefully watched for truth in advertising and fraud (which the U.S. also frequently fails at).

            Failure to enforce truth in advertising and failure to treat telecom fraud as fraud (including not forcin

          • by Firehed ( 942385 )

            If competition keeps the price down, then why does the cost of sending a text message keep increasing? And - what a surprise! - these rates all seem to increase very close to the same time and by the same amount across all carriers.

            It's price fixing, plain and simple.

            I'm a strong believer of the concept of a free market, but I'm also quick to acknowledge that as companies increase in size and power (and more importantly, buy up their competition), they need at least some level of regulation. If telcos were

        • by MooUK ( 905450 )

          Actually, that's the same as all companies try to do. Most of them don't think they can get away with much, due to competition, and they're right. Telephone companies have all set similar prices, so there's no competition.

          • by martas ( 1439879 )
            well yeah, that's exactly the point. the question is why competition doesn't seem to work so well in this case.
      • Re:How pleasant (Score:4, Informative)

        by asdf7890 ( 1518587 ) on Saturday December 05, 2009 @10:44AM (#30334812)

        Actually, SMS isn't quite that simple. They are (at least on GSM - I don't know for sure about other network types like modern 3G arrangements) sent out-of-band on a low traffic control channel. That is where the "140 7 bit characters" limit comes from", to fit into the maximum packet size used on that channel. You can effectively DoS a cell wrt SMS capability by sending as little as 40 messages per second.

        Having said that, many price plans and offers over here offer so many text messages in the package that they are effectively free (even sometimes on PAYG). I'm sure they claw back the missing income by other means though.

      • I heard that sms packets were stuffed into some other crap the phone sends out anyways so it actually near completely free to send them. (was informed of this by a /.er months ago but i cant find the post)
        • That's not true at all, analog phones had a digital control channel which was used for purposes like this on occasion, but modern phones just send packets. It takes many packets per second to carry on a phone conversation; it takes one or two to send a text message. It's like if you charged people $10 for their connection to the ISP, then charged them twenty-five cents every time they sent an IM (SMS) and a dollar for every email (MMS) but allowed them to use voice chat for free. It's like Chewbacca living

  • All US carriers suck (Score:4, Informative)

    by hellfire ( 86129 ) <deviladv&gmail,com> on Saturday December 05, 2009 @09:54AM (#30334558) Homepage

    What's funny right now is that I constantly hear from reviews, friends, and fellow iPhone users how much they think AT&T sucks and want to move to Verizon. Personally I think this is all BS, and would love some more european and canadian cell phone companies to invade the US and finally give us some real competition in this country, or at least have the FCC standup and hold our carriers more accountable and stop the mergers.

    ALL the US carriers suck in general! People may think Verizon's coverage is the best, compared to AT&T, but notice how they are competing on coverage, and not dropped calls, network speed, features (you can't check email at the same time you are on a call with Verizon... anywhere, with any phone), etc. Also notice how all the services cost around $80 or so for the minimum smartphone contract. Notice how they all have sneaky overblown hidden fees. Notice how the per txt fee and monthly charge for Txtx keeps going up and up and up. Notice how their customer service is slightly below or slightly above average. Notice how they all lock you into specific phones. Notice how they all lock you into two year contracts unless you are willing to buy one of their cheapo phones for a pay as you go contract. Notice how all the cheapo phones break if you sneeze the wrong way.

    Verizon is one level of shit, and AT&T is another level of shit. And we americans are forced to deal with these levels of shit, and we go around saying one is so much greater than the other.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      They did invade here - and all we got out of it was T-Mobile - you know, 7th largest mobile operator in the world? They settled into the American Way of cellphone service so readily it's hard to remember they're a multinational.
      • t-mobile has a no-contract option, unlimited text + data starting at $59 (for 500 mins).
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      you want canadian cell companies to compete in the u.s.? have you looked at canadian cell plans? you think you're getting a fuzzy lollipop? check this out:

      100 local minutes plus 50 bonus local minutes Local Fab Five: Unlimited calling & text Unlimited night & weekend (9 p.m. - 7 a.m.) local calling
      Minimum monthly fee

      and there are no unlimited talk plans and a 3 year contract besides.

      and if you want a smart phone it is 50$ for 1 gb of data. and there is no unlimited data.

      now what we

    • by ceoyoyo ( 59147 ) on Saturday December 05, 2009 @10:53AM (#30334880)

      "love some more european and canadian cell phone companies to invade the US"

      European maybe, but you don't want to be subject to Canadian cell phone companies. We look at what you guys have with envy. Until the introduction of the iPhone it was cheaper to get a phone with a US carrier and then pay roaming charges in Canada than it was to just get a data plan here. Nation wide long distance? Sure, for $20 a month, and if you go outside our service area it doesn't count.

      Canadian cell phone companies are so bad that they've all started up (or bought) alias companies so they can do business under a name that's not quite so reviled.

    • by Sabalon ( 1684 )

      Verizon, in my 8 years experience with them, has great coverage. I can get a minimal signal almost anywhere that goes to no signal as soon as I try to start a call or answer one.

    • Vodafone has a 45% stake in Verizon Wireless (Verizon has the other 55%). As others have mentioned, T-Mobile is owned by the European company known as T-Mobile.

      This has everything to do with regulation and standardization, and very little to do with the telcos themselves.

      I had a UK prepay phone with Tesco for a while (yes...Tesco the grocery store). I used it pretty frequently, and over the course of 6 months racked up a bill comparable to one month on Verizon (including the initial outlay for a new GSM p

    • Verizon's business methods are shit but they do have a superior cell network compared to AT&T. This is largely because CDMA (IS95) outperforms GSM in all respects when signal conditions are marginal. i.e. congested urban areas, or in rural areas far from the nearest tower. GSM was designed around the concept of having a high density of cells in Euroland where one is never truly far from urbanity as in the states. GSM also suffers from congestion problems in underserviced urban areas because it is less b

  • Come on... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by yoshi_mon ( 172895 ) on Saturday December 05, 2009 @10:18AM (#30334648)

    Its one thing to try and recoup the costs of smartphones that you all but give to customers. There is plenty to be said about that but I'll give that part a pass here.

    But to setup the OS such that a user can 'go online' as described only to be billed for it is just downright sleazy. I am quite sure that if any customers called in to complain Verizon's solution to them was that they just needed to add a data plan to their contract.

    Look, I'm not anti corporations/big business but so many business models have turned into 'how can we best extract money from people' rather than 'provide good service in return for money'. That type of thinking needs to change and it is the job of the government to do that. They are the best 800lb. gorilla that can reign in large corps.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday December 05, 2009 @10:19AM (#30334656)

    American companies don't make money, they steal money. They lie and use "tricks and traps" to pick people's pockets. This crap with Verizon is typical. In California, AT&T submitted a terms of use agreement that was 1500 pages. I'm sure that it contained provisions that would have allowed them to take your house or savings. Even the almost useless state utilities commission rejected it, because the law states that these agreements must be understandable.

    What kind of capitalism is this, exactly? The basic theory of capitalism says that buyers and sellers make informed decisions based on open information. How does changing the contract unilaterally fit in? First they write terms of service that allow them to change the rules without negotiation, then they double the cost of canceling. I know what the dumb ass libertarians and republicans will say: 'if you don't like it, you can quit before the change takes place.' This is bullshit because the cost of getting a new high end phone and new carrier is greater then the cost of keeping the service. How many people really change service before the term is up under any conditions?

    And this thing with getting charged for a couple of bucks for hitting a button when you did not sign up for the service? That is flat out and out theft. It has nothing to do with actual capitalism. What good or service do you get for pushing the wrong button on a cell phone?

    And what about the banks sorting ATM charges so users are charged the maximum overdraft fees? They sort the charges from biggest to smallest so you hit the overdraft at the beginning of the sequence and every charge after you go over the limit has an overdraft fee. Even if it is in the fine print somewhere it is stealing from consumers. Keep in mind that ATM overdraft fees were $38 Billion for the last year of published data. Not exactly chump change.

    I am pro-capitalism, but there is no way the system in the US is actual capitalism. It's all about big corporate interests buying the government and then looting the economy. That's why the US is in a long term economic decline. Corporate america has adopted a model based on orgaized crime, not capitalism.

    • by nurb432 ( 527695 )

      American companies don't make money, they steal money.

      Some do. Not all, not by a long shot. Eventually the market will correct for this and they will be held accountable.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Skapare ( 16644 )

        There needs to be substantial competition for it to correct itself. There isn't enough competition, yet. The only alternative is regulation. That needs to either directly correct the problem, or introduce the competition that can do it.

    • by Skapare ( 16644 )

      Capitalism is about investors investing in business. It has nothing to do with theft. Supporting or outlawing the kinds of theft so many big corporations carry out these days is neither supporting nor opposing capitalism. Capitalism existed long before corporate robbery. It can come back if we do something about it.

  • Block Data? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by natehoy ( 1608657 ) on Saturday December 05, 2009 @10:28AM (#30334694) Journal

    Does Verizon allow you to block data?

    My wife's parents ended up with some incidental charges for accidental data access on their phones, called AT&T, and they refunded the amounts and asked if they wanted a "data block" put in place to prevent them from accidentally accessing data again. "Yes" "OK, we're all done, thanks for calling AT&T". Next day, my father-in-law tried the data access, and it came up "unavailable", and they've never seen a charge since.

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      YES, Verizon will (upon request) put blocks to mobile web, purchases of ringtones, programs (and the like), as well as streaming music or video.

      Signed, a current Verizon customer with teenagers.

    • A few years ago, I asked T-Mobile to block data on all the phones on our plan, because our phones kept on signing themselves up for monthly subscription charges. They refused outright, and in a later call, offered ANOTHER subscription charge for "parental controls" to block the data.

      We're on AT&T now, which sucks in it's own special ways, but there have been no bill surprises.

    • by Myopic ( 18616 )

      Yes. I had the same experience. When I put three extra family members on my AT&T share plan, I called them and made sure to turn off all kinds of stuff -- photo texting, data, pay numbers, pretty much anything that could cost money. So far so good, but I've heard that companies can charge money to your cell phone knowing nothing more than your number, and I don't fricking understand how that can be legal.

  • by SaffronMiner ( 973257 ) on Saturday December 05, 2009 @11:42AM (#30335270) Homepage
    My Father died in October. He had a shared Verizon account with my Mother. They charged Mom $100 to terminate his account, even after I explained that he was dead. I wanted to terminate Mom's account as well, as she only talked to Dad on her cell phone. They refused to do it without having to pay more than $100 beyond the first $100! They told me Mom had to keep the account until it expired in July. While she racks up charges for a service she will not use; Her income is now very limited, she should be using the money to buy food and keep the house heated. A bit off topic to this tread but all of the paperwork and people you have to contact when someone dies is an absolute nightmare. People have been dieing for a really long time now, you would think it would be an easy one click process. Who is up for stating such a service? Oh right, Amazon already has that patented...
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by BriggsBU ( 1138021 )
      You got ripped. I once worked for VZW and the standard policy is that if the user of a phone line dies, the account holder can send in a copy of the death certificate or obituary and that line can be disconnected with no early termination fee. Now, your mom's line would still have been required to be open because a contract is a contract and she was still alive. But you should not have been charged for cancelling the line of the deceased.
  • It would be nice if they would do something about consolidation in the telecom market. I think it's a little suspicious that, of the four remaining major wireless carriers, there's a significant trend towards uniformity among plan features, hardware, and especially pricing. In fact, one might even suspect price fixing. I remain shocked every time I travel abroad at how little people pay for wireless outside the USA.

    All the government would need to do is do away with early termination fees for individual

  • I've had a Mi-Fi (dedicated 3G Wi-Fi access point) from Verizon since the summer. Works great (trouble-free video conferencing from rural Virginia!), but there are consistently charges for SMS messages "received" -- which are not from anyone I know -- given that there's no way to retrieve them, seems kinda disingenuous.
  • I seem to recall reading an article about them no longer charging if you accidentally do a data service then immediately close out of it. I think it was on

I've noticed several design suggestions in your code.