In a gesture of goodwill, Verizon announced on its website that customers in "portions of New York and New Jersey" -- those affected by Hurricane Sandy -- "will not be billed usage charges for domestic voice and text usage incurred between Oct. 29 and Nov. 16 2012."
The waiving of fees is automatic. Verizon customers do not need to take any action.
Residents of the following areas are eligible:
New York: Bronx County, Kings County, Nassau County, New York County, Putnam County, Queens County, Richmond County, Rockland County, Suffolk County and Westchester County.
New Jersey: Atlantic City, Bergen County, Burlington County, Camden County, Cape May County, Cumberland County, Essex County, Gloucester County, Hudson County, Hunterdon County, Mercer County, Middlesex County, Monmouth County, Morris County, Ocean County, Passaic County, Salem County, Somerset County, Sussex County, Union County and Warren County.
Credit is being provided not by refunds, but by simply having no usage charges listed for voice or text activity during the time period in question. Customers who have signed up for usage alerts might still receive spurious warnings that they are near or over their voice or text allotment, but these have no impact on the waiver, said Verizon.
Those not in any of the above areas can call 1-800-922-0204 and ask for a waiver "on a case-by-case basis."
Verizon has been engaged in a number of mobile-centric relief efforts for customers who have been hit by Sandy, such as deploying mobile device charging stations, providing charging and free domestic calling at retail locations that remained open, and suspending late fees during the post-storm cleanup period. AT&T has a similar mobile phone charging initiative, but the Huffington Post reported that one of the mobile charging stations deployed to the Red Hook neighborhood of Brooklyn was mistakenly deployed without needed hardware.