Consumers Union asks Verizon to Clarify Options for iPhone 4 Customers Who Want to Upgrade to iPhone 5

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WASHINGTON, February 7, 2011 — As Verizon Wireless prepares to launch its version of the Apple iPhone 4 on February 10, Consumers Union, the nonprofit publisher of Consumer Reports, is asking the company to clarify the options for consumers who purchase an iPhone 4 this week and want to upgrade to a next-generation iPhone 5 when it is released.

In a February 7 letter to Verizon Wireless CEO Daniel Mead, Consumers Union policy counsel Parul Desai said recent history suggests Apple will release an iPhone 5 this summer.

Desai asked if Verizon customers who buy an iPhone now will receive a rebate or discount toward the next upgraded model. “Will customers wanting to replace the iPhone 4 with the iPhone 5 be in violation of their two-year contract commitment and thus subject to an early termination fee of $350?” she wrote. “Will customers face any other costs, penalties, or obstacles for upgrading to an iPhone 5?”

Desai continued, “We believe these are important questions, and consumers should have all the relevant facts and answers before spending a significant amount of money on a phone that will soon be superseded by a new model. We hope that you will provide – prior to February 10 – transparent answers to these questions, so that consumers are aware of their options and can make informed choices about the products and services they purchase.”

For a copy of CU’s letter to Verizon Wireless, contact David Butler at dbutler@consumer.org or 202-462-6262.