Last week one of the readers to this blog and a listener of the podcast sent me e-mail about a new surcharge that Verizon is charging it’s DSL-Only subscribers, I covered it in the podcast but not on the blog, well it seems the story has made it onto the radar screen of other blogs and news wires.
Last year a ruling did away with the Federal Universal Service Fund charge for DSL subscribers. The Federal Universal Service Fund was set up to help communities in need gain access to the Internet. The fund helps schools, libraries get Internet access, in turn companies like Verizon received some of the USF subsidy back in a round about way. In the end the telco was a large benefactor of the USF. Don’t get me wrong the scope of the USF is larger than schools and libraries getting net connectivity subsidies. Verizon and other telecommunications companies have been collecting this surcharge since 1996.
With the ruling last year that the telcos could not collect the fee from DSL customers Verizon and other telcos had to stop the collections. But in the place of the Tax, Verizon has added a new surcharge that is almost exactly the same amount as the USF. They think most people will be to stupid to notice the change in description of the charge.
Their cover story for this “Rate Hike”, aka special surcharge is said to help cover unexpected cost. When a company normally has unexpected cost don’t they announce a base subscription fee increase instead of a sneaky surcharge?
I can very easily deduct this as a sinister motives, that smell of anti competition and fraud in the worst way. My advice is that if you are a Verizon DSL customer that you call the company, and get mad. Demand the removal of the surcharge and demand that they call it what it is “Rate Hike”
When will companies figure out that back room deals and shadowy terminology on bills may have worked in the past but todays consumers do not put up with this monkey business. [DSL Reports]