Grieving widow upset about early termination fee on cell phone contract – Hawaii News Now


It’s been scarcely two months since Constance Young of Iowa lost her beloved husband. After taking his name off the account and turning in his cell phone, she was shocked when she saw the bill that came in the mail.

“Everything is difficult for me,” admits Young, whose grief is still raw after losing her husband in August.

Little by little she’s tackling those things that must be done, like taking him off the cell phone bill and returning his phone. 

“They took me to the back room because obviously I was crying,” Young said. “(I) let them know to take him off the bill and turned in the phone.  I just sat there and waited and they came back in and they told me, very politely, everything was taken care of and they walked me to the front door and told me they were sorry for my loss.”

So, Young was beside herself when she received her Verizon bill with a $210 early termination fee for breaking the contract.

“They actually charged me $210 because he died.  I don’t understand how they can charge me $210 for him dying.”

Mark Judson with the SWLA Law Center says survivors are often responsible for money owed by their deceased love one.

“In a pure legal sense, just because someone dies, debts and assets survive death, generally speaking,” he said. “So, the estate of a deceased person owes their bills.”

“From a public relations standpoint, it’s perfectly horrible.  If I were the owner of the company, I would forbid this sort of practice and I would simply cancel the bill, but I’m not the owner of the company. Sometimes legalities trump public relations.”

Still, Young  hopes telling her story will help save others the added grief.

“They must have millions of people,” she said. “How many people has this happened to?”

Verizon representative Gretchen Whitaker, in Houston, says their normal policy is to waive the early termination fee in such cases.

Young says Whitaker called her and said they are going to credit her account, though Young says it was never about the money.

To hear more legal tips from Judson look for the KPLC web extra.

Copyright 2015 KPLC All rights reserved


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