Verizon Wireless Conveniently Retracts $2 ‘Convenience Fee’

Posted by · December 30, 2011 3:55 pm

And then, as quickly as it had appeared, it was gone. So went the story of the Verizon Wireless $2 ‘Convenience Fee’. One day after the telecom giant announced the dawn of a new fee for those who wish to retain control over bill payment, Verizon issued a brief statement Friday announcing that it had decided not to institute the new fee.

Set to take effect mid-January, the so-called convenience fee would have added a $2 charge to every Verizon customer who choose to make single payments online or over the phone each month.

“The company made the decision in response to customer feedback about the plan, which was designed to improve the efficiency of those transactions,” the statement said.

Precisely what type of efficiency improvements Verizon had in mind for the new fee were not mentioned in the announcement.

Nevertheless, Verizon Wireless CEO Dan Mead took the opportunity to reassure customers that the company takes “great care” in listening to its customers, as well as to “encourage” Verizon customers to “take advantage of the best and most efficient options.” This strategy, he concluded, would do away with the alleged “need” for a fee.

Such a statement by the Mead leads one to wonder why the fee needed to be introduced in the first place if all that was needed was a little encouragement for customers to choose the payment option that’s best for them. At the expense of making such an assumption, it’s probably safe to say that most people are self-interested enough to do that already.

Then again, what’s done is done, and the consumer has emerged the victor.

It probably didn’t hurt the cause to have the Federal Communications Commission issue a statement earlier Friday, assuring American consumers that it, too, was “concerned” and would be “looking into the matter.”

And although the FCC’s initial cause for concern may be gone (for now), it may be wise for the agency to continuing its “looking” considering the widespread complaints that Verizon regularly overcharges its customers. To be sure, Verizon Wireless admitted in 2010 that is had overcharged 15 million customers—a reason to be skeptical of enrolling in AutoPay if I’ve ever heard one.

  • Soursop_addict

    I wish I had time to write an article about what exactly “in response to customer feedback” means here. People tend to think that everyone just sends a nice email to Verizon stating they shouldn’t do it!… The reality is, they get thousands and thousands of emails cursing the $#&T out of them and threatening to leave the company immediately. I’m glad they are ‘listening’ to the customers!.. The same thing happened to Netflix not long ago!.. I don’t understand why are these companies are even allowed to pop up with fees out of thin air!.. shouldn’t they all be regulated… The Banks got regulated, I think these companies should be too!..

  • Jonathan

    Sheesh, how many more companies are going to rook it like this and not learn from others mistakes?!?!?!? STOP being greedy. STOP making stupid decisions without thinking things through. STOP treating your customers like a number and not people.

    Sigh…

  • Patrick

    The rationale for the fee was that those one-time payments were more expensive for Verizon to process. Since I do not have the information required to rebut that, I will take Verizon at their word. (I would conjecture that customers that rely on the one-time payment method also have a higher non-payment rate than auto-pay customers, but that is just a guess.)

    Thus, if it is on balance more expensive for Verizon to accept such payments, then it seems reasonable to me that they would apply a surcharge. It also seems reasonable to me that some customers would want to end their business relationship with Verizon because of the fee. That said, it seems nonsensical to me to throw around words laden with moral sentiments, such as “greedy”. The fee might be a bad business decision, but it has nothing to do with morals or ethics. It also seems ludicrous to me that the FCC is getting involved.

    As for defense against an inaccurate bill: sign up for automatic payment by credit card, and dispute the charge if need be.