File this under “Ethically Questionable Life Hacks.”

In a nutshell, Scott Woolley’s article in Forbes, “How To Duck Cell Phone Taxes,” says that you can avoid some taxes on your mobile by changing your billing address to an area such as Nevada, which has the lowest cell phone taxes in the country.

I always wonder if companies, such as Verizon, consider ethics when designing policies like this. In this case, at least, it seems that if they had, they could have designed a policy that their customers wouldn’t be incentivised to circumvent.

Actually, perhaps ethics is the wrong consideration here? I guess I’m actually talking about customer motivation. Either way, you’d think that companies would try to design their (billing, usage, etc.) policies in such a way that their customers would actually WANT to follow them. That’s how you build customer loyalty, right? Congruence between the company’s and the customer’s philosophies?

Of course, the design of this particular policy is constrained by the relevant tax laws, but an obvious work-around would have been to design the customer interaction so that it prevented the ethically questionable behavior.

How To Duck Cell Phone Taxes