Web-Based Consumer Uproar Leads Verizon To Drop Planned Surcharge

Earlier this week, Verizon Wireless announced that it would begin charging customers a $2.00 “convenience fee” for using the company website to make one-time payments of cell phone bills via credit or debit card. At the time, the company justified the charge by saying it was an attempt to cover the costs incurred from these one-time payments, and pointed out that people who were enrolled in the Auto-Pay options available to account holders would not be charged the fee at all. That didn’t stop people from complaining, though, and less than 48 hours after it was announced, the “convenience fee” was gone:

Verizon Wireless said Friday it would not implement a $2 fee for single payments made online or by phone. The decision was made after a backlash from consumers who took the Web to express their anger about the proposed policy.

In a statement, the telecommunications company said: “Verizon Wireless has decided it will not institute the fee for online or telephone single payments that was announced earlier this week.

That’s what you call the voice of the consumer being heard without a shot being fired.

FILED UNDER: Economics and Business, Quick Takes
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010 and contributed a staggering 16,483 posts before his retirement in January 2020.

Comments

  1. 11B40 says:

    Greetings:

    My car insurance company, 21st Century came up with a $4 renewal fee, which, as I explained to them in a letter, seemed to be their charging me to charge me and my paying them to pay them. I think that it’s time for American businesses to come up with a SMBA (Super MBA, you know, like our rulers Super Committee, RIP) to ride herd on all those MBA’s running around out there.

  2. There is no reason to charge people for this. None. At all. In fact, it’s cheaper overall – less overhead – to do paperless billing, as proven by literally every other industry I’ve seen giving incentives to do just that.

    The whole reason Verizon did this is the same reason Microsoft, on their Xbox Live Arcade console, felt the need to charge for the “convenience” (they literally used the term “convenience fee”) of downloading full games that don’t need to be pressed, shipped, put into a retailer, etc.: they do it to train consumers that things that are good for the company should be paid for, and that therefore, everything that saves money should be paid for. It’s an impressive slight-of-hand that unfortunately for them, we see right through.

  3. Gustopher says:

    I would question whether it was the consumer backlash that got them to quickly change their plans, or the FCC taking notice of it.

  4. Liberal Capitalist says:

    We embrace capitalism.

    They embrace the money out of you every chance they get.

    It is inherrent in this system.

    Yet we act surprised.