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Clarification on Verizon’s Regulatory Charge and If You Can Use it to Get Out of that Contract

Earlier this month, Verizon customers started receiving a mailer (notification) that a Regulatory Charge on their bills could potentially increase starting July 7 which prompted a set of stories with details on how everyone could use this to get out of their current contract for free.  We now have some additional info to add to this situation that should clarify the fee itself and also if you can really use it to walk away without paying an ETF (early termination fee).  

One of our Big Red resources reached out and provided the following, which looks like a long and in-depth read, but it’s well worth it if for some reason you were looking to exit your contract.  And if you aren’t interested in reading all of that, we’ve summed it up for you down below.

1.)    Customers cannot use that notification to cancel their contract without early termination. This isn’t a case of semantics, it’s a simple fact. If you read the notification that was sent to customers it states that we may increase the regulatory charge by up to etc. The change hasn’t occurred yet. The change is, in fact, still being debated at extremely high levels and may not in fact happen. The letters were sent as a courtesy to customers to let them know that we MAY increase the regulatory charge.

2.)    Until the decision is made on 7/1, no changes have been made and no changes will be made.

3.)    The Federal Universal Service Charge is a federal/government tax. It is imposed at a carrier level to all carriers that provide cellular, pots, or broadband service. It is left up to the carrier if they choose to pass the charge along to customers. If they do, it is that carriers charge so an increase in it would count as a materially adverse change provided it was of sufficient magnitude. To be of sufficient magnitude, your overall bill would need to increase. If VZW chose to increase that charge but decrease another charge, there would be no material adverse effect. The Federal Universal Service Charge is assessed quarterly and is based on both revenue and total subscribers at a carrier level. It changes each quarter, and has gone up and down over the years. When it goes down, this is also reflected in the customer’s bills, but they are often not notified as it’s a change to their benefit. Othertimes, the charge increases but the carrier chooses not to pass the charge along to customers but leave the fee at its current rate. The FUSC will be increasing in quarter three, but the amount of the increase will not be announced until June 30th. At that time, all the carriers will assess whether they want to increase the fee the customer pays and may pass some or all of the increase along. If we are forced to increase our fees the other carriers will also probably follow suit. They just weren’t polite enough to warn folks in advance.

4.)    On July 1st, if the change is made, then the customers can attempt to cancel service without an etf. The reason reps are so boggled by the concept right now is that no decision has been made on if fees will increase. If they do increase fees, reps will be notified. Customers will also probably be directed to CMO/Loyalty (the toll free number in the notification) instead of front line reps. Arguing with a rep, or an escalations rep/supervisor, is not going to get the customer anywhere. They will need to call that number or request a transfer if they want the etf waived. Again, this is only *IF* the fee increases, which it may not.

5.)    If you call in right now and talk to a rep or supervisor they will probably have no idea what you are talking about. I can tell you with all confidence that notification of the possible change has not been communicated outside of corporate  and cmo/loyalty.


As of this morning, there has not been a decision made (at least publicly) on whether or not Verizon will change the Regulatory Charge.  If they decide to increase it starting tomorrow, and leave all other fees exactly where they are (meaning your bill actually increases), then you can get out of your contract without an ETF.  However, if say, they increase the Reg. Charge, but lower a fee somewhere else to keep your bill as-is, it would not count as a material adverse effect and you would not be able to get out of your contract.

Calling regular customer service to cancel your contract will likely not get you anywhere – you will need to call 1-888-684-1888 to talk to someone familiar with the situation.

And again, all of this comes down to an “IF.”  IF Verizon doesn’t end up increasing this charge, then you can just ignore all of this and continue to hang on to that contract of yours.

Update:  We’ve heard from a CSR (customer service rep) that Verizon is distributing materials to coach them on how to deal with customers who are looking to exit their contracts.  They are under the impression that you will not be allowed to leave without an ETF no matter what…guess we’ll see.

  • Beee

    Has anyone succeeded in canceling their plan without an ETF?

    • Anonymous

      I had about an 8 threaded email going with them.  No luck.  So fed up with the Thunderbolt I ported out anyway.  Can’t wait for the ”We want you back” mailings to start.

  • Called and verified with a tax specialist, supervisor level, that the regulatory charge has been increased to .16 cents from .13 cents. Also verified that the other charges, for me at least, will remain the same. +.03 cents with no reductions in other charges creates a net increase and gives me my out! Like my post earlier, I’m not doing this because I can but because I lost my job several months back and I’m planning on moving out of the country for awhile for work. For anyone who wants to continue saying .,03 cents is not materially adverse, well you’re wrong. What might not be materially adverse to you, is to me. For someone who hasn’t been able to find a job in months and increased expenses due to contracts like this is not helping.

    Verizon has decided to change the contract, so I choose to not continue with their service. Simple as that. No gray area.

    • MAJ

      Were you able to get out of your contract without an ETF?

    • Brochargail

      Todays date is 08/08/2011: I just spent most of my day at a Verizon store, trying to cancel my 3 month old contract which has 2 phones AT $165.00 per phone E.T.F. The first story you get from the reps. is they are independent store fronts, not authorized to cancel without charging the E.T.F. its odd that they have authorized dealer written all over their store though. They called the verizon sales rep. which was suppose to call back on my cell phone, a tactic to use up my minutes on my bill, normally the verizon store makes the call and pays and lets the customer explain why their canceling. After sitting & waiting for 1 1/2 hours, the sales rep said he whould call me, I did get 2 calls after I left the store each one asking why I was cancelling, which i insisted was because of the regulatory charges, after lenghty dispute the only offer was to waive the .03 cent increase for the remainder of the 2 yr. contract. I went back to the store thats got Verizon written all over it, but is not a Verizon store (pun) to cancel the account, the rep was ready to get rid of me, but i had to speak again with one of their experinced sale persons on the stores phone, not my cell phone since they were going to get the $330.00 out of me! I again said, she could not offer anything short of waiving the E.T.F. which she repeated the same line as the other reps. They did terminate only one cell phone and said the other one would be terminated the next day, another thing to increase my distaste for verizon. I MAY HAVE TO PAY THE $330.00, BUT IT WILL BE ON MY TERMS.  

  • Jessecnyc2

    So is the fees gonna Increase

  • Anonymous


  • Anonymous

    If you check your vzw terms and conditions, you’ll see that this is considered a regulatory charge and it can change at any time: What Charges Are Set by Verizon Wireless?
    You agree to pay all access, usage and other charges that you or the user of your wireless device incurred. For Postpay Service, our charges also include Federal Universal Service, Regulatory and Administrative Charges, and we may also include other charges related to our governmental costs. We set these charges; they aren’t taxes, they aren’t required by law, they are kept by us in whole or in part, and the amounts and what they pay for may change.

    It is not considered a material adverse charge.

    • What do you mean? It states right in there that: “WE SET THESE CHARGES; THEY AREN’T TAXES, they aren’t required by law, they are kept by us in whole or in part, and the amounts and what they pay for may change.”

      Sounds like a materially adverse charge to me.

    • What do you mean? It states right in there that: “WE SET THESE CHARGES; THEY AREN’T TAXES, they aren’t required by law, they are kept by us in whole or in part, and the amounts and what they pay for may change.”

      Sounds like a materially adverse charge to me.

  • I’mRIGHTyou’reWRONG

    Any news yet?
    I am tired of VZ’s crappy phones and prices.

  • How can we find out if the fee has indeed be increased?

    • Anonymous

      Would like to know same…

  • Rick

    Well, someone that seeks the employment of a CSR should already know that they’re going to rrecieve calls from irate people. If after taking the job their feelings are compromised whose fault is it? Why would it be the customers?

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  • Pretty much the same question I have. As much as I dislike their data plan changes, I don’t want to get onto AT&T again, and Sprint coverage sucks in my area. I would like continue on with what I have and once a phone comes out that I really want I can jump on it.

    • wtf, disqus, post my comment where I put it. it was supposed to reply at Mii’s question about contract canellation

  • Anonymous

    Funny how Verizon used to have the best service. Now with the dataplan changes, theirs is the most expensive. Their coverage isn’t much better anymore – in my area it is now the worst. Everybody wants out from under Verizon.

  • hmmmmm, perhaps i can cancel my second line with this… 

  • Anonymous

    “It is imposed at a carrier level to all carriers that provide cellular, pots, or broadband service.”

    Didn’t know my carrier provided pot service. Will have to investigate…hmmm..

  • Thanks for the clarity!

  • FortitudineVincimus

    1 thing that really annoys me about this site;

    You just jump on stories so quick, before full details come out, that often we need like 2,3,4 more stories to clarify the original story so it is always so confusing.

    I bet this story will also need a caveat clarification story.

  • FortitudineVincimus

    1 thing that really annoys me about this site;

    You just jump on stories so quick, before full details come out, that often we need like 2,3,4 more stories to clarify the original story so it is always so confusing.

    I bet this story will also need a caveat clarification story.

    • Would you rather them report once and not have any clarification? New info is coming out daily, why not keep up to date? Also, how are they to know when the information ends? Relax, just skip over those posts that you don’t want to read.

      • FortitudineVincimus

        Yeah, I would rather they not scramble to try to be first with “news” that in the end, is wrong anyway and then clog this site with endless threads on the same shit over and over.

        As for “skip over those posts that you don’t want to read.” – come on dude, as a regular user, I feel it is my right to chime in on annoying habits like this I see more and more of. In the end, it is just all filler to make stories and then it takes like 3 stories to finally get the true “story”.

        • That’s the problem with rumors. Until Verizon notifies the interwebs with an actual press release, it will be a rumor and things change daily with rumors. So would you prefer that blogs like this not report on rumors?

    • Anonymous

      Why do you think we all check this site multiple times per day?  For juicy android gossip as well as sweet tips on how to make our phones even better.  I’m telling people daily of some new feature that’s found on here and they just drop their jaws thinking “wow, wish I was brave enough to root my phone”.  Keep up the good work DL.

    • how was that terrible?  they offered a tip…. and then clarified it providing more information i was going to otherwise have to research myself… this saved me at least an hour of discussing the situation with a rep…


  • Mii

    so here’s a good question for those of us not up for upgrade yet, if they raise the fee, and we call and cancel our contract, are we able to re-signup for a new 2 year plan for a different phone and take advantage of the reduced price?

    • If they up the charge, they may try to prevent your from cancelling with freebies. Freebies could be anything from free minutes upwards to an early upgrade.

  • DIone Casey

    totally off topic but wheres the update for my thunderbolt???i thought it was dropping today…. i got happy for nothing i see  🙁

  • Ohyaknow76

    The only thing i wished is Big Red would get the Nexus phones. BOOHOO

  • Timmah

    You guys wont get out. Check your bill on April. It clearly says about the charges happening. They did warn you.

    • Anonymous

      They said they would warn you. So its not special. But if they up costs on you then you can get out. Simple.

  • Anonymous

    I’m not sure I’d want to terminate the contract simply because I like having unlimited minutes prior to the July 7th tiered data deadline. 

    • What? Unlimited minutes and data deadline? What does your minutes have anything to do with your data?

  • Bewara2009

    All I read from this was blah blah blah

  • E Froelich89

    Just keep saying to yourself… “its better than at&t”.
    Ill take my d2g and the unlimited data plan over a backflip and 2gb limit anyday.
    As for the thunderbolt, the 4g lte and the xoom. this is a case where waiting for the second version is best.

  • Anonymous

    What happened to the Google+ invite post? This morning it had 3 updates, now it has seemingly just disappeared.

    • Anonymous

      I noticed the same thing. Gone without a trace. I wonder if Google asked to have it pulled.

  • Koob33

    makes me wonder what’ll happen when most people on the og droid are done with their 2 year contract

    • Anonymous

      I’m one of those folks.
      I’m not yet sure what I’m going to do.

      There aren’t any new phones (Droid or otherwise) that really tickle my fancy like my orig Droid. Yeah, I’m to the point where the limited RAM is a sometimes a hindrance, but I still like it, and w/Cyangenmod, it’s still pretty snappy even compared to phones w/more hefty hardware (but that have all the bloat).

      I’ve been a VZW customer for 10 years, and currently have a 5-line plan, but their concerted effort over the last year to dismantle perks and generally piss all over their loyal customers has me question my loyalty. So much promise and potential came w/that orig Droid, and both VZW and Motorola have squandered it.

      If they don’t release some decent phones by the end of the summer, and if grandfathering on unlimited data plans isn’t going to last at least a couple years, I’ll definitely be jumping ship.

      • Anonymous

        I agree, no really great new phone out yet. I’m stuck with Verizon because where I am, they are the only stable cell provider (Sprint got sued because they refuse to service here & still charged customers ETFs when people here tried to cancel a service they were paying for, but weren’t getting). Luckily I’m up for a new phone starting in Nov, so maybe some good quality replacements will be out for the holiday season. The Droid X2 looked promising, but the limited RAM hurts it.

    • Earleepa

      I’m keeping mine for now but if they come out with something quad core and laptop docking capabilities then I’ll trade in my OG for that but not until then.

  • Rizzidy


  • max

    big red making excuses 

  • Baked14

    I tried yesterday to get out. The lady got all moody and almost yelled at me. She said i was trying to box her in? At least i got to make her mad so it was worth the call

    • Ortega553

      You idiot stop making life difficult for other people you selfish bastard

      • He is a customer. he can call and complain all he wants. If she feels “boxed in” then she needs to suck it up or quit. And as far as the DMV goes. it’s not the customers that piss off the workers, it’s the State and how much they cut their wages and hours. (California)

        • Derp

          lmao you both obviously have some messed up feeling of entitlement.  it’s one thing to voice your concerns, but it’s another to be a douche to someone who doesn’t control the things the company is doing.  if you have problems with policy, customer service won’t fix it.

          then again, if she really was being a bitch then yeah, no sympathy for her. 😛

          •  You all have never worked as a CSR have you. I know from personal experance. That the rep you speak with will have NO final say on the matter. They for all matters just answer the phones and do what the company rules require. Now if you speak with a supervisor or higher up then they have more say. But the on the floor reps are just doing their jobs.

          • Lakerzz

            Yes, but sometimes it actually takes a little “boxing in” for them to even give us chance to talk to a superviser, just sayin’…

          • I’m not saying they are saints. I’ve had to deal with my share too. I usually just hang up politely and call again if a rep refuses. Either that or ask for retention off the bat. Not many reps will refuse me on that request.

          • Zipperwound

            I think you ALL are a bunch of phucktards

          • Dude16478

            peopole just need to do their job and not get mad because they don’t want to work.. AKA Lazy peice of SH***

    • Pooch

      You are one of the reasons that it sucks talking to customer service reps and DMV attendants, because you make the world a crappier place and see pleasure in doing so.  

  • Anonymous

    Thanks for the updates

  • Purple_duckk

    Who cares, I want 2.3 on my Tbolt.  I wish I could get money back fro broken promises.

    • Anonymous

      I didn’t know that HTC had confirmed that Gingerbread was never coming out for the Thunderbolt.

      • tjhrulz

        They said we would get Skype video chatting to me at the store when I was looking at getting one, so either we are getting gingerbread to use it or they are making one for the Tbolt. Also HTC is part of the android up to date pact and so they should be updating it in a timely fashion

        • Anonymous

          If memory serves, they announced that plan after the Thunderbolt came out and have never been particularly specific about what it means.

          • Which also came after the EVO and they’ve already gotten Gingerbread for almost a month now.

      • Whitl103

        You scared me for a second.  Then the sarcasm sank in.

        • Anonymous

          Sorry… can’t ever miss a chance to snark up the world.

    • Anonymous

      verizon never promised anything. You cant expect to get an update from a bogus fake internal memo

      • Purple_duckk

        Bullshit.  They promised 2.3 by the end of Q2 which the last day of Q2 is today.

        • Anonymous

          Uum like i said VERIZON never promised anything. And you must be new if you think that some random email that HTC sent to one person holds any water. Take it up with HTC verizon never said Q2! Maybe read the article rather than just post it.

        • Anonymous

          Um… did you read that link? That was HTC that promised it.

          • Anonymous

            back when my husband had the Eris, he called VZW wondering where his Froyo update was, and was told to called HTC because VZW had nothing to do with it, and so they put him through to HTC customer service, and was told the exact opposite from them…so it sounds like they both are in the business of making empty promises

        • Myrecipe75

          So was it VZW that promised or HTC? 2 separate companies

        • Myrecipe75

          So was it VZW that promised or HTC? 2 separate companies

    • Anonymous

      I couldn’t wait so I rooted my phone and am currently enjoying 2.3.4 and Sense 3.0 goodness.  Das BAMF and XDA are your friends.

    • Anonymous

      welcome to DX users end of last summer
      we were told ‘youll get 2.2 soon’
      about 3.5 months later there it was for us