FCC Voices Concern Over Verizon Wireless Fee

Someone at the FCC must be a Verizon Wireless customer. The agency has just announced that it will look into the nation’s largest cell phone service provider’s plan to charge a $2/month fee to customers who don’t enroll in auto-pay or pay directly from their bank accounts.

In an e-mailed statement to the New York Times, the FCC writes, “On behalf of American consumers, we’re concerned about Verizon’s actions and are looking into the matter.”

Whether this is anything other than lip service is still to be determined. Just because the FCC looks into something doesn’t mean it can or will do anything about it.

Verizon has defended the fee and said that, in spite of the public outcry, it will not back down from the charge because it believes the other payment options provide enough ways to get around the fee.

F.C.C. to Look at Verizon’s $2 ‘Convenience Fee’ [NY Times]

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  1. smo0 says:

    What should come out of this is the option for people to get out of their contracts.
    They don’t feel threatened like BofA did , because people could have left BofA at any time….

    Verizon knows you’re stuck or you have to pay them an ETF.

    And the whole “other payment options” argument is bullshit…. with BofA – you had options as well, didn’t change people from telling them to go F themselves in the A.

    So yeah, they won’t feel threatened until people start leaving, people can’t leave until they can get out of their contracts – the only way to do that is by some intervention.

    I’m sorry – it is what it is.

    • TuxthePenguin says:

      Essentially what they are doing is pricing risk into the system for those who do not auto-pay. The way most contracts work, its essentially credit – they give you service for a month, then ask you to pay for it.

      It might make sense that those who do not autopay each month are a greater credit risk and that this fee is a hedge against that. I’d love to see their logic for this, especially with the hell BoA went through.

      • Kaleey says:

        Actually, look at your bill. They ask you to pay for NEXT month’s service. Which is why if you change to a lower service mid-month, your next bill is lower, because you get a refund on some of the service that you prepaid.

        Verizon just wants access to your bank account, so they can make it more “convenient” … to rob you blind, would be my guess.

        • shanelee24 says:

          That is incorrect. Otherwise you would have to pay a bill the day you start your service up.

          • Skyhawk says:

            You do pay in advance.

            Your first bill is twice as much as normal.

            Aside from the first 1-31 days (depending on your start date and when you get your first bill) you are paying in advance.

          • Verucalise (Est.February2008) says:

            My first bill at almost any company was a prorated portion of the month PLUS next month in full. Example:

            Verizon Wireless- $60/month. I sign up on the 15th, bill comes out on the 30th. I pay 15 days worth of service, on top of a complete MONTH in advance. So my bill before taxes and all the other bullshit would be $30 (15 days) + $60= $90.

            That’s why people FREAK OUT their first bill- they don’t realize they are paying a month ahead.

    • alstein says:

      There’s always find the Verizon execs details and give them the Ocean Marketing treatment.

    • Jawaka says:

      Is online bill paying really too inconvenient? I pay all of my bill through my bank’s online bill paying system and would never want to pay any other way.

  2. waybaker says:

    If they were smart, they would back down now.

    All of the bad press, and now an FCC inquiry… their investors have got to be voicing some concerns. Hows the stock on Verizon these days?

    Wonder how little their stocks would have to fall to offset $2 a month from some of their customers? Seems like a no brainer to listen to what your customers want. Care to comment BOA or Netflix?

  3. Raider Duck says:

    I’m not a huge fan of government intervention, but here’s a cellphone company raising customer’s rates (de facto if not formally), while still holding customers to their original contract. Seems we may have fraudulent behavior here.

  4. waybaker says:

    That was fast.

    CNN.com is reporting that “Verizon Wireless to scrap proposed $2 fee for one-time payments, citing “customer feedback.” “

  5. AndrewSP says:

    CNN just reported that they’ve already backed down. http://news.blogs.cnn.com/2011/12/30/verizon-says-its-scrapping-2-online-payment-fee/

    Was it really “customer feedback” as they claim, or fear over a potential FCC investigation? Hmm…

  6. Danjalier says:

    Why is it that companies have decided to add new fees within months of huge protests decrying corporate greed? Somehow, in this economic climate, adding fees was considered a good idea?

    Morons at the executive level. Seriously.

    • regis-s says:

      Just when is a good time to jack up prices? Now is always the worst time because we’re in a slump. Going into a slump. Coming out of a slump. Or, still recovering from the last one.

      I really hate it when people say: “in this economy” or variations of it.

  7. Scamazon says:

    Wait the FCC did something? It sure doesn’t monitor all the F-Bombs that made it on the air over traditional TV antenna via ESPN or FOX this year. By my count there is 6 but i bet its more. (Check YouTube) I guess they don’t care unless the powers that be want to distract you from some bigger more concerning news story….Where are those American Family BS Organization’s outrage over those incidents? I guess its not what you monitor, its who you pay off….

  8. maruawe says:

    Changed their tune pretty quick

  9. HomerSimpson says:

    Where are the cries of “evul gubermint interference” ?!?

    • Skyhawk says:

      Too tired of trying to explain it to you ‘big-government’ lovers.

      The catchy slogans and bumper stickers work too well on that type of mentality.

      You’d just stick your fingers in your ears and keep repeating ” Nananana Hope and Change Nananana!”

  10. Psycho Conductor says:

    Charging for things like this is pretty common in the UK. Doesn’t make it right.