Verizon Taxes Its Customers


Folks, the wise men say that you should pay attention to your phone bill and read all the fine print. If you don’t there is a good chance you might actually be getting stiffed. Verizon DSL-only customers are finding out that just about now.

Earlier this month, Verizon Online (the DSL business) stopped charging the FUSF (Federal Universal Service Fund) recovery fee. A ruling said so. Verizon and other phone companies had asked the Federal Communications Commission to deregulate DSL service, and classify it as an information service. As a result customers could save between $1.25 to $2.83 a month.

Good news right? Nope – Verizon is going to charge a “supplier surcharge.” Think of it as a dictator imposing a new tax, just because he can. The company has the nerve to say that they are charging this tax, I mean surcharge – between $1.20 and $2.70 a month – to help offset the costs from a very mysterious network supplier.

Good lord – that’s like Exxon asking you to pay a few pennies more so that they can pay for actual gas stations. Doublespeak and a desperate attempt to pay for those pesky price cuts? Still, What is Verizon’s justification?

Bobby Henson, a Verizon spokeswoman, cited “new costs that we’ve developed over the past year as we’ve been developing and delivering this standalone DSL service. That service doesn’t have the benefit of the revenue that was coming in from voice.”



If Verizon is stating that it must increase fees to make up cost differences because current cost models are unprofitable then it should either just increase the price or get out of the business. Does anyone else think it’s kind of fishy that they get a break from the feds then introduce a surcharge for around the same amount?

Paul Jardine

Didn’t they just implement a new Billing/Rating system? Perhaps that’s the mysterious supplier surcharge! ;)
These things notoriously run over budget (and under expectations)


AT&T’s cell service has been doing this for ages. Or at least it was doing it last time I used their service. I looked at my bill once and realized there were all these surcharges. After checking the fine print I realized they were just things AT&T made up. They weren’t taxes or government mandates. They should have been in the price of the service. Needless to say I cancelled my service.

John Thacker

Of course, this is pretty similar to the way that the cable guys give people a $5/month (or whatever) “discount” on cable Internet or VoIP-based phone if you also sign up for cable TV. It’s the same thing– a lower price if you bundle, a higher one if you don’t. The difference is that it’s an idiotic business practice this way– people love “discounts” and hate “surcharges,” even if the end result is the same.

So remember folks, it’s always a “discount for using our website online,” not a “surcharge for doing business over the phone or in person,” even if you’d charge the same differentiated prices either way.

Jacob Varghese

Why is it ok to add surcharges instead of just raising the price? What if other companies started add a surcharge to goods or services??
There is a $1 surcharge on your movie ticket sir.
or Your computer has a $10 surcharge.

Verizon is clearly misleading their customers.
This should be illegal.

Glenn Fleishman

Ah, but remember that Verizon claims it cannot make money selling single-tiered Internet service and has, in the battle over Wi-Fi in Philadelphia, essentially said that they don’t recover their costs from DSL.


While I’m no happier than the next person about this surcharge, I think that it’s innacurate to call it a “tax.”

You can always opt-out of using Verizon’s services and Verizon cannot use any type of force against you.

However, you cannot opt-out of paying taxes, and if you don’t pay them, the government can and does use force against you.

So the two are very different.

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