Verizon makes phone calls to Chile free after earthquake

When a natural disaster strikes, the first thing most people do is to try to get in touch with friends and family in the affected region. When Haiti was hit by their earthquake, we saw a handful of companies doing their part by facilitating ways to communicate with Haiti for free. Today, Verizon is doing the same for earthquake-stricken Chile. Following the massive 8.8-magnitude shake that hit the South American country, Verizon has announced that it will waive any charges for all wireline, wireless (post-paid and pre-paid) phone calls from the US.

Calls made from now on will be charged $0.00 on their monthly bill, and Verizon will retroactively waive all fees for calls made immediately after the earthquake. Verizon is also making it easy for any post-paid Verizon and former Alltel customers to donate $10 to Habitat for Humanity recovery efforts in Chile. Simply text the word “CHILE” to 25383 and a $10 donation will be charged to your monthly bill.

Full press release after the break.

NEW YORK, Feb 28, 2010 /PRNewswire via COMTEX/ —

Responding to the devastating earthquake in Chile, Verizon will waive all long-distance usage charges for calls from its residential landline and Verizon Wireless phones to Chile, from Feb. 26 through Mar. 6.* The company will also waive all Verizon Prepaid Phone Card charges for all long-distance calls placed from the U.S. to Chile.

“This is an excruciatingly difficult time for our customers with loved ones in Chile,” said Susan Retta, vice president of consumer products for Verizon. “We want to help alleviate some of the agony being experienced by our customers trying to reach loved ones in Chile. Waiving the calling charges will help our customers focus on tracking down and keeping in touch with their family and friends without having to also worry about the cost of the call.”

Beginning Friday (Feb. 26), all calls made from a Verizon residential landline phone to Chile will be rated at $0.00 per minute. Verizon will also provide credit in future bill statements for long-distance charges for calls to Chile that were made or may have been billed since Feb. 26.**

Additionally, customers with the Verizon International Single Rate plan who have either 300 or 500 minutes of long-distance calling can call Chile without using any minutes from their time-allotment blocks.

When a customer uses a Verizon Prepaid Phone Card to call Chile, no minutes will be taken off the card, regardless of when it was purchased. Verizon Prepaid Phone Cards can be obtained at many retail locations across the U.S.

Starting immediately and retroactive to the time of the earthquake, Verizon Wireless customers with regular monthly bills can make calls to connect with family and friends in Chile at no cost when they’re on the Verizon Wireless network in the U.S. Verizon Wireless customers with monthly bills who receive calls from Chile will also receive those calls free of charge. Verizon Wireless is also making calls free for at least one week. Calls made while roaming are billed at normal rates. (For more information on Verizon Wireless, visit http://news.vzw.com/.)

Verizon Helping Chile

Verizon Wireless teams are working with international relief organizations to provide mobile giving options for customers who wish to donate to the earthquake relief efforts. All Verizon Wireless customers who pay a monthly bill, including those formerly with Alltel, can contribute to Chilean earthquake relief efforts via their mobile phones. To make a $10 donation to Habitat for Humanity, text the word “CHILE” to 25383; to make a $10 donation to World Vision, text the word “CHILE” to 20222. Customers will receive a text response to confirm the $10 donation, and 100 percent of customers’ donations will go directly to the relief organization’s efforts to help the victims of the Chilean earthquake. Additional international relief organizations are expected to begin mobile giving campaigns soon.

Verizon Wireless donates the cost of the back-and-forth text messages. Customers will not be charged for the text messages, and the $10 donation will appear on their regular monthly bills.

*Only long-distance usage charges associated with calls made from residential landlines terminating to wireline or wireless destinations in Chile will be waived from Feb. 26 – Mar 6. All other fees including taxes, surcharges, monthly recurring charges (MRCs), minimum spend levels (MSLs), monthly minimum charges (MMCs), etc will continue to apply. Post-paid calling card charges to Chile will also be waived.

**If long-distance calling fees were charged, credits will be issued in a future bill statement.

Verizon Communications Inc., headquartered in New York, is a global leader in delivering broadband and other wireless and wireline communications services to mass market, business, government and wholesale customers. Verizon Wireless operates America’s most reliable wireless network, serving more than 91 million customers nationwide. Verizon also provides converged communications, information and entertainment services over America’s most advanced fiber-optic network, and delivers innovative, seamless business solutions to customers around the world. A Dow 30 company, Verizon employs a diverse workforce of approximately 222,900 and last year generated consolidated revenues of more than $107 billion. For more information, visit www.verizon.com.

VERIZON’S ONLINE NEWS CENTER: Verizon news releases, executive speeches and biographies, media contacts, high-quality video and images, and other information are available at Verizon’s News Center on the World Wide Web at www.verizon.com/news. To receive news releases by e-mail, visit the News Center and register for customized automatic delivery of Verizon news releases.

SOURCE Verizon

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