The cost of privacy is going to get a little pricier for Verizon Communications customers. The company is notifying landline customers that the fee for an unlisted phone number will rise in September to $2.50 a month from $2.25 — an 11 percent increase.
And remember: That's for a service Verizon isn't providing by not including you in its phone directories.
Jarryd Gonzales, a Verizon spokesman, told me the rate hike is needed "to help support the ongoing costs of providing the service."
That's a little vague considering the service is entirely electronic and automated. Moreover, why should you have to pay the fee month after month? Once you've stated your preference, shouldn't that be it?
"Costs include supporting the ongoing database management," Gonzales said, along with information technology "and collaboration with directory publishers to ensure they have updated data."
At AT&T, the company has no plans "at this time" to increase its $1.75 monthly fee for an unlisted number, said company spokeswoman Georgia Taylor.
You don't need a Ph.D in electrical engineering to surmise that this fee isn't about information technology or database management. It's about nickel-and-diming customers with a completely fabricated expense.
Verizon has about 20 million landline customers. If just half, say, desired unlisted numbers, that 25-cent rate hike translates to more than $2.5 million a month in extra revenue, or an additional $30 million a year. If they all wanted unlisted numbers, that would mean an extra $60 million.
That's not pocket change. And that's why this bogus fee will almost certainly keep rising.
— Los Angeles Times