Verizon locks customers out of phone upgrades (Update: Freedom!)

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Verizon is locking its own customers out of upgrades. From Gizmodo:

Here's something for our hefty "WTF, Verizon?" file: The BlackBerry Tour, soon to be Verizon's top phone, cannot be pre-ordered by existing customers under contract who want to upgrade. What's worse, upgrades may be blocked even after the phone's release.

Cellphone subsidies exist to create a consumer relationship that resembles debt. The question "Why would Verizon stop people buying phones?" yields the answer "Because selling phones is like selling credit." They make a lot more money, but have to be careful about who they do business with: existing debtors are low on the pole because they've already got you.

This is why customer service at the carriers so notoriously ends when you sign up. The only real obligation past that point is that you have to give them money for two years.

Verizon Customers Under Contract Can't Order BlackBerry Tour [Gizmodo]

Update: Verizon changed its mind. Yay!

Published by Rob Beschizza

Follow Rob @beschizza on Twitter.

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6 Comments

  1. This is why I do prepaid (virgin), you take a hit on buying the phone, but you own it outright, and you can cut off service at will.
    Very happy w/ my Virgin Kyocera m2000 XTC

  2. The other reason is that new phones are a good bait for new customers — and they want to make sure they have enough in stock to serve that market before they start upgrading those who are already giving them money.

    Annoying, but I find it hard to blame them.

    (Also proud owner of a low-end noncontract phone. I’ll upgrade when they figure out how to sell something like the Pre to my market niche. Or iPhone, if and ONLY if they replace the half-arsed planner implementation — that’s one thing Palm’s historically gotten absolutely right.)

  3. This sounded like a bogus story to begin with. And already Gizmodo has an article saying this isn’t true… while tooting their horn saying ‘bad press’ made it happen (rather than the more likely scenario that it was an undertrained set of reps that they initially talked to and it was never a story to begin with).

  4. I’d be more inclined to believe it was bogus if it had not actually happened.

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