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March 19, 2011
If you own a small business, you can write off your cellular phone as an expense. However, if you try to open a cellular service with AT&T or Verizon, they will require a $400 deposit just as if you were a person with poor credit. It is not clear why the companies discourage business accounts, but one could speculate that it is harder for them to collect fees from a company than an individual.
Nevertheless, here are some tips on opening a cellular account under your company name and avoiding the deposit.
First, be aware that it can be done. Few people even realize this. We have accomplished this now with both AT&T and Verizon, at great pains.
Second, do not go to a retail franchise store, such as the Verizon at 275 Greenwich Street. They do not have the authority or know-how to do the follow steps.
Once you initiate the process with a corporate store, such as the Verizon on 581 Broadway, by Prince Street, give a senior manager your documents of incorporation, LLC, etc. Their credit department will come back with the answer that you will need to place the deposit mentioned.
Then, have the manger call the credit department and explain that your company exists, they have the papers, and the company has been in business for more than two years. After reviewing that, the corporate credit team should allow you to open the account under your company name.
Do not give the cellular company your social security number. They are not allowed to demand that. Also, do not agree to an “activation fee”. The senior manager has the authority to refund that.