When a promise of big savings goes up in a puff of smoke
The world of mobile phone monthly charges is a murky place at best, with fees and data plans, talking, texting, taxes and gigabytes. It’s already confusing. But recently we received a reader complaint about Verizon’s seemingly simple $140-a-month mobile phone plan.
We’ve been seeing similar promotions for the plan, indeed just around the corner from us at the Verizon store. So we took a stroll there to get a closer look and we found this sign:
Four lines with 10 gigs of shared data for only $140? Hey, that’s a killer deal — especially if you’re already a Verizon customer and want to upgrade your plan’s data allowance.
But the sign does not tell the whole story; namely, that in order to achieve this monthly rate for four smartphones you have to purchase four smartphones from Verizon through a 24-month financing plan.
There’s no way around it. Simply put, the so-called Verizon Edge financing plan is what gets you to the $140 per month, as it awards a $25 discount
toward each smartphone’s monthly access line fee, which usually runs $40 per phone:
Want to keep your current phone or pay cash to purchase a new device? No $140 price for you. In fact, it’ll cost more than $200 for line and data access.
But even if you finance the cost of four new smartphones, and pay monthly for two years, your monthly bill won’t add up to $140. You see, that’s just for “access” to the network. The figure does not include what you have to pay monthly as part of the Verizon Edge financing plan. That separate cost is added to your bill (For example, if you finance four iPhone 6s, it would be $27.08 each, or more than $100 per month). So while Verizon promotes a savings of $100 per month, the savings are cancelled out by the cost of the financed phones.
After a few days of trading emails with Verizon, TINA.org on Friday asked spokesperson Debra Lewis why all relevant charges weren’t disclosed in its More Everything with Edge plan signage. We have yet to hear back.
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