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.