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Thread: Verizon Surcharges, Taxes and Fees in Massachusetts

  1. #1
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    Verizon Surcharges, Taxes and Fees in Massachusetts

    So I currently have 3 lines on a shared data plan with AT&T. I like the service but need to add a 4th line and our data bucket, along with the other available data buckets, is not going to be enough once we have the 4th phone so I am looking at other carriers and am leaning towards Verizon with the basic unlimited plan. The question I have is about taxes and fees. With AT&T the fees slowly and steadily increased over the time I have been with them. I assume the taxes will be the same with VZW but what about the fees? As of my current bill, each of the 3 lines have $2.71 in government charges which are $1.50 for 911 service fee and $1.21 in mass state sales tax. I think this would be standard across all carriers. On the AT&T fees though, it’s $4.50 per month per line. That’s $1.99 administrative fee, $1.26 federal universal service charge and $1.25 regulatory cost recovery charge. Am I wrong that these AT&T charges are excessive and really nothing more than a way of lining their pockets with more money without raising their prices on their plans? What does the VZW bill look like in Massachusetts? Thanks for all replies.

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    Nope, you are wrong. The last two fees pay for other people free phones and plans. Welcome to socialism, you most likely voted for it...

    https://www.fcc.gov/consumers/guides...telephone-bill

    All telecommunications service providers must contribute to the federal Universal Service Fund, which helps people in rural and high-cost areas, and income-eligible consumers, get access to telecommunications services at reasonable rates through programs and initiatives such as the Connect America Fund, Lifeline and the E-rate program for schools and libraries.
    A "Universal Service" line item may appear on your telephone bill when your service provider chooses to recover USF contributions from you, the customer. The FCC does not require this charge to be passed on to you, but service providers are allowed to do so. These charges usually appear as a percentage of your phone bill. Companies cannot collect an amount that exceeds the percentage of their own contributions to the USF. They also cannot collect any fees on services fully supported by the Lifeline program.
    https://www.washingtontimes.com/news...d-fraud-audit/
    Known officially as the Lifeline Program, the phone giveaway became a symbol of government waste in the previous administration. Now a new report from the Government Accountability Office bears out those concerns.

    The report, requested by Sen. Claire McCaskill, Missouri Democrat, also says the program has stashed some $9 billion in assets in private bank accounts rather than with the federal treasury, further increasing risks and depriving taxpayers of the full benefit of that money.

    “A complete lack of oversight is causing this program to fail the American taxpayer — everything that could go wrong is going wrong,” said Mrs. McCaskill, ranking Democrat on the Senate’s chief oversight committee and who is a former state auditor in Missouri.

    “We’re currently letting phone companies cash a government check every month with little more than the honor system to hold them accountable, and that simply can’t continue,” she said.

    The program, run by the Federal Communications Commission, predates President Obama, but it gained attention during his administration when recipients began to associate the free phone with other benefits he doled out to the poor.

    Some 10.6 million people have an Obamaphone, but 36 percent of them may not qualify, investigators said after sampling the population and finding a huge chunk of people couldn’t prove they were eligible.

    More than 5,500 people were found to be enrolled for two phones, while the program was paying for nearly 6,400 phones for persons the government has listed as having died.

    Investigators also submitted fraudulent applications to see what would happen, and 12 of the 19 phone carriers they applied to approved a phone.

    The theory behind the program was that poor people needed a phone to apply for a job or conduct other business in the modern economy, so they were provided with what was supposed to be a low-cost, limited-service benefit.

    Though the program is administered by the federal government, funding comes from cellphone carriers, who pass the costs on to customers through the universal service fee charge that many see on their monthly bills.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Elevatorguy View Post
    So I currently have 3 lines on a shared data plan with AT&T. I like the service but need to add a 4th line and our data bucket, along with the other available data buckets, is not going to be enough once we have the 4th phone so I am looking at other carriers and am leaning towards Verizon with the basic unlimited plan. The question I have is about taxes and fees. With AT&T the fees slowly and steadily increased over the time I have been with them. I assume the taxes will be the same with VZW but what about the fees? As of my current bill, each of the 3 lines have $2.71 in government charges which are $1.50 for 911 service fee and $1.21 in mass state sales tax. I think this would be standard across all carriers. On the AT&T fees though, it’s $4.50 per month per line. That’s $1.99 administrative fee, $1.26 federal universal service charge and $1.25 regulatory cost recovery charge. Am I wrong that these AT&T charges are excessive and really nothing more than a way of lining their pockets with more money without raising their prices on their plans? What does the VZW bill look like in Massachusetts? Thanks for all replies.
    Every carriers "administration" fees will be different. 911 fees should be the same. Sales tax even USF fees can be different those are based on the cost of "phone" service. Each carrier is going to determine how much of you line charge is "phone". The taxes and fees on our bill are the same per line regardless of how many lines we have.

    I live in TN. Verizon's Administration charge is $1.23 and their regulatory charge is 17 cents. This should be the same no matter where you are. The USF fee is 44 cents per line even though the website says it's charge 5.456%. To have 44 cents be 5.456% means they are only charging that 5.456% on $8.00. My state charges $1.16 911 fee per line and the state sales tax is 9.5% However the sales tax per line is only $1.44. So sales taxes are only be charged on $15 per line not the entire line cost. Someone using Verizon tax estimator is going to get a result that is WAY more than what it will be in reality. The fact that Verizon doesn't disclose how much of each line is actually be charged for taxes/fess makes things so confusing.

    We have Go Unlimited 4 lines so $40 per line.

    What we actually pay per line
    Admin fee $1.21
    Regulatory Fee 17 cents
    USF Fee 44 cents
    911 fee $1.16
    State sales tax $1.44
    TOTAL=$4.44 per line or $17.76 for 4 lines

    What Verizon tax estimator says if some assume the entire $40 is subject to taxes/fees

    Admin Fee - $1.23
    Regulatory Fee - 17 cents
    USF Fee( at 5.4565% )- $2.18
    911 fee - $1.16
    State sales tax( 9.5% of $40 )- $3.80

    TOTAL-$8.54 per line or $34.16 for 4 lines

    So someone thinking about switching to Verizon and thinking the cost of 4 lines is going to be $16.40 more per month than what it is really going to be might not switch to Verizon. Meanwhile T-Mobile completely eliminates confusion by just including the fees in the pricing.

    Now I don't expect Verizon to eat the total cost including fees. But they could raise the pricing of plans by $5 per line and just state taxes/fees included. Now in my state that would make the bill slightly higher but in many areas it would drop the bills. But they could also improve the plans while they are at it to make my increased bill more palatable.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jack Hagar View Post
    Meanwhile T-Mobile completely eliminates confusion by just including the fees in the pricing.
    That's a very European thinking. Because the taxes are everywhere in EU the same, they are included in price.
    However, here in US, different states, cities even, have different taxes. You can't truly "include" the taxes in price. What T-Mo did is put the price high enough to cover for ALL the taxes. No private company "eats" taxes, they are all passed to customers.

    But in this way people living in high-tax areas get to actually pay less for the actual service than the people in lower tax areas. People in NYC and CA get their phone bill subsidized by people living in areas with less taxation. That's great isn't?

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    Quote Originally Posted by SoNic67 View Post
    That's a very European thinking. Because the taxes are everywhere in EU the same, they are included in price.
    However, here in US, different states, cities even, have different taxes. You can't truly "include" the taxes in price. What T-Mo did is put the price high enough to cover for ALL the taxes. No private company "eats" taxes, they are all passed to customers.
    Yes I believe I said that when I stated Verizon should raise their prices by $5 to cover the taxes/fees. Did you actually READ what I wrote or did you see what you wanted to see then made a post? Here let me quote my own post

    "Now I don't expect Verizon to eat the total cost including fees. But they could raise the pricing of plans by $5 per line and just state taxes/fees included."

    But in this way people living in high-tax areas get to actually pay less for the actual service than the people in lower tax areas. People in NYC and CA get their phone bill subsidized by people living in areas with less taxation. That's great isn't?
    Once again I already said this. Let me quote myself again

    "Now in my state that would make the bill slightly higher but in many areas it would drop the bills. But they could also improve the plans while they are at it to make my increased bill more palatable. "

    Seriously did you actually READ what I wrote? Sure doesn't seems like it. If you don't think this is fair then fine Verizon needs to more accurately post how they figures out taxes and fees. Instead of saying the USF Fee is whatever % say it's whatever % of $8. Because that is what it actually is. instead of stating my state sales tax is 9.5% say it's 9.5% of $15. because that's what it is. This is hard why?

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    The last two fees also cover high cost rural customers such as farmers, for example, as someone's post points out. Not just for free phones.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ericok View Post
    The last two fees also cover high cost rural customers such as farmers, for example, as someone's post points out. Not just for free phones.
    I read that too. People like to just highlight one part of it though.

    Sent from my Pixel XL using HoFo mobile app

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