Verizon won't charge Sandy victims for voice and text usage

As New York and New Jersey residents struggle to get back on their feet after last week's superstorm, the carrier announces it will waive voice and text charges for a two-week period.

Dara Kerr Former senior reporter
Dara Kerr was a senior reporter for CNET covering the on-demand economy and tech culture. She grew up in Colorado, went to school in New York City and can never remember how to pronounce gif.
Dara Kerr
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A hardware store in the West Village offered power strips so that the thousands of people in the neighborhood who were without power after Hurricane Sandy could charge their cell phones and other gadgets. Marguerite Reardon/CNET

As Hurricane Sandy bore down on the East Coast last week, millions of residents were left without power, cell phone service, Internet, and home phone service. In an outpouring of support for people left stranded by the superstorm, several mobile carriers took to the streets offering free device charging stations and access to emergency wireless phones.

Verizon announced this week that it will continue to help Sandy victims by waiving all charges for domestic voice and text usage for its customers in the New York and New Jersey areas between October 29 and November 16.

"Verizon Wireless continues to focus its efforts to assist customers in the regions hardest hit by Hurricane Sandy," the carrier wrote in a FAQ about the program. "We announced November 4th that customers in portions of New York and New Jersey will not be billed usage charges for domestic voice and text usage incurred between October 29th and November 16th 2012. No action is required by our customers to be eligible for this program."

In the FAQ, Verizon explained that those customers in the impacted areas don't need to take any action; they just won't be charged for voice and text use during the specified period. They will still be responsible for monthly access charges, however. As for the cut-off date of November 16, Verizon wrote, "By 11/16 we're hoping that the lives of our customers impacted by storm will have returned to pre-Sandy normalcy."

Verizon restored its service to 99 percent of the East Coast as of last weekend and continues to help people affected by the hurricane. After the storm, the company deployed Wireless Emergency Communication Centers throughout the region that provided public access to device charging and free domestic calling to local residents. It also sent out mobile stores-on-wheels to serve as fully functioning Verizon Wireless Stores.

According to PCMag, AT&T and Sprint announced last week that they wouldn't charge late fees for Sandy victims who couldn't pay their bills on time.