Who's to blame for Cablevision's high phone number-transfer fee?

29 January 2008

We were surprised recently to hear that consumers who switch to Cablevisions Optimum Voice VoIP telephone service are charged a one-time $40 fee to keep their old telephone numbers. Posing as a prospective customer, one of our reporters recently asked a Cablevision customer representative for an explanation. The representative said that Cablevision merely is passing on charges imposed by customers former companies to transfer the numbers to Cablevision. In this case, the company was Verizon.

Curious, we called Verizon officials, who told us they dont charge Cablevision or any other company anything to transfer customers numbers. A Cablevision spokesman told us he had no idea why his companys representative blamed Verizon. He explained that Cablevision came up with the fee to compensate for processing, back-office, and other costs associated with arranging the number transfer. He said part of the cost is offset by the companys $9.95 installation fee for double- and triple-play subscribers, which he said is lower than other companies. (We know of companies that in most areas dont charge installation fees at all.)

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