I've been playing with a Samsung Tab from Verizon Wireless since November 11th. I will share my impressions of the device in the coming days but in the interim, I wanted to let the world know about how crazy Verizon Wireless has made the monthly payment for data usage, and what other fees are lurking.
When I purchased the Tab I paid $599.99 for the Tab itself, $39.99 for a case, and $44.80 in tax. So, my total price was $684.78. Since I purchased the Samsung Galaxy Tab without a contract, I expected to pay a premium, so this first part didn't really bother me. However, moments after leaving the store, I read the fine print on the Verizon Wireless receipt. I have just now confirmed what the Samsung Tab will really cost me to operate on Verizon Wireless's network.
First off, if you purchase from Verizon Wireless and decide that the Tab is not for you, you will be hit with a $70 restocking fee. If that's not bad enough, if you return it after three days of having purchased it, you will not be credited back your $35 activation fee either. Oh, did I forget to tell you about that fee? Yeah, in addition to the price of acquisition, Verizon also throws a $35 activation fee onto your first bill.
The above would be bad enough, but it gets worse. The receipt that you get when you purchase the Tab has an estimated monthly bill on it. Since I opted for the $20 per month for 1GB, the first estimated monthly payment was a whopping $88.36!! Needless to say, this sounded alarm bells so I called Verizon Wireless to discuss it. Here's what I found out:
1. Verizon bills you for one month in advance: In my case the service started on 11/11/2010, and the bill date was 11/12/2010. So, I owed 65 cents for that partial month.
2. My first real month is $20. That's what I figured, but then it gets worse. Because the activation fee is on the first month, add $35, plus $5.67 for taxes and fees. That puts the first bill at $61.32--approximately. Not quite the $88.36 estimated, but still not just $20 for a month of broadband.
So, after finding out the two points above, I figured maybe I'll just cancel the broadband for a month so I can think about whether or not I need to pay $20 for 1GB. Well, even though it's advertised as "no contract", Verizon Wireless will still hit you with a $35 reconnect fee if you stop and then want to re-start your broadband account. Thankfully, there's a workaround. If instead of deactivating your account you "suspend" it, there's a $15 fee for suspending, which my rep was kind enough to credit.
Long story short, I used to think that the pricing of the hardware itself on the Samsung Tab was too high. Now I see that there are a bunch of hidden fees if you decide to start and stop your service. This may be acceptable for some people, but I would think that most people are going to be shocked when they receive a bill that's not only loaded with an activation fee and more taxes, but also a possible overage fee. Overage fee, you ask? It turns out that even though I mostly used my Samsung Tab on Wi-Fi this month, whatever time I spent demoing the Tab completely sucked away my 1GB of data. I can honestly say that I think the total demo time was maybe 10 minutes, so I'll be researching that one, too. Verizon Wireless wasted no time sending me an email letting me know that my data usage was running out, though.
I'm not sure what the other carriers are doing for pricing and hidden fees on the Samsung Tab, but this definitely makes me appreciate my $14.99 a month fee for my iPad. In the case of the iPad, the $14.99 never changes, except when I have to renew it again for another $14.99 for the next month.