Verizon adds $20 fee to all smartphone upgrades


And there’s no way around it. Photo: Mike Mozart/Flickr CC

Verizon will soon start charging a $20 fee for anyone upgrading their smartphone with pretty much no loopholes to get out of it. Yes, a carrier is introducing a new fee without much explanation and customers are forced to deal with it. Shocking, I know. The new fee goes into effect April 4.

Verizon currently charges a $40 upgrade fee for smartphones tied to a two-year contract, but as those customers are dwindling, the carrier is picking up some extra cash from the rest of the customers. This includes whether you’re on a Device Payment financing plan or you pay for the phone in full up front. Even customers of the iPhone Upgrade Program at the Apple Store will still have to cough up 20 bucks.

If you’re upgrading your smartphone directly through Verizon you’ll have to pay at point of service, but if upgrading indirectly (like at a third-party cell phone store) you’ll see the charge on your next service bill.

All of this comes from a leaked internal memo that MacRumors got ahold of. But as it points out, Verizon isn’t the only carrier to implement an upgrade fee. AT&T charges $15 for an AT&T Next smartphone upgrade while Sprint asks for a more aggressive $30. T-Mobile is the reigning champ in the United States though, charging nothing whatsoever to upgrade. But Verizon claims there’s a reason: to “cover our increasing support costs associated with customers switching their devices.”

If you’ve been thinking about upgrading your smartphone recently, now’s a good time to do it. You have until Monday, April 4 to go to Verizon and save that $20 when getting a new device.