This just doesn’t sound right at all.
Tracy Glass sent me this email:
“Recently, I’ve noticed Verizon phone service charging what they call a “short fall charge” for NOT using their long distance service. Essentially, I was told that if I signed up for Verizon as my long distance carrier and did not make any long distance calls, they would charge me a fee for their “short fall.” Is this legal?”
Here’s what I can tell you: Verizon says the “shortfall charge” helps pay for maintenance of the network. So even if customers don’t make long-distance calls, they still have access to the phone network.
Tracy didn’t say how much her “shortfall charge” was, but complaints online reveal customers are being charged anywhere from $2 to $5.
Verizon has told some customers that if they want that monthly charge off of their bill, they have to pay a one-time charge of $5.50.
As for whether it is legal, I have a call into the Texas Attorney General’s Office. Generally, as long as the charge was explained up front (even if it’s in tiny print in a contract), it is legal. I will let you know what the AG’s office says. CheCk back here for an update .
The AG’s office is also where you should complain if you’re unhappy about this charge.