I have been a Verizon Wireless customer for about a year. At the time I switched to Verizon I was between jobs and could not afford the smartphone I really wanted, so I got a basic feature phone. My assumption was that when I wanted to upgrade to a phone requiring a data plan, generating lots more revenue for them, Verizon would do everything they could to make it convenient for me.
Only after I am 20 months into my two-year agreement do I become, in Verizon's words, "eligible to upgrade with an additional loyalty discount." Until then I can upgrade at full price. By "loyalty discount" they mean the price anyone who is not already a loyal Verizon customer could get by signing up for a new two-year agreement. And by "full price" they mean the exorbitant full retail price that nobody but the very rich or very desperate actually pays.
For example today, as an existing Verizon customer I could purchase an iPhone 4S for $650. If I were not already a loyal Verizon customer that same phone would cost me just $200. Yes, because I've already chosen to be their customer I get to pay more than three times as much for a new phone!
I have contacted Verizon several times about this, including three letters to CEO Ivan G. Seidenberg. I have made it clear that I am willing to extend my current agreement for an additional two years beyond the end of my current agreement, that I will sign up for a calling plan that would immediately start earning them an additional $50 a month, and that if they won't bend on their policy they will definitely lose me as a customer when my current agreement ends.
Verizon's response is a consistent and firm "No". Their attitude is, "We already have you locked in to a contract. We don't have to give you good service."
Apparently nobody at Verizon knows the old marketing truism that it is infinitely easier and less expensive to keep a current customer than it is to gain a new one. They in fact seem to be doing the exact opposite ... throwing time, energy, money and special offers at potential new customers while at the same time angering an existing customer - who actually wants to spend more money with them - to the point of losing him.