Verizon Caves, Pulls Plug On $2 Convenience Fee

Well that was fast. Only hours after publicly stating it wouldn’t back off from charging a $2/month fee to customers who paid online or by phone with a debit/credit card, Verizon Wireless has pulled a complete 180 and decided to nix the fee completely.

In a statement, Big Red writes:

Verizon Wireless has decided it will not institute the fee for online or telephone single payments that was announced earlier this week.

The company made the decision in response to customer feedback about the plan, which was designed to improve the efficiency of those transactions. The company continues to encourage customers to take advantage of the numerous simple and convenient payment methods it provides.

“At Verizon, we take great care to listen to our customers. Based on their input, we believe the best path forward is to encourage customers to take advantage of the best and most efficient options, eliminating the need to institute the fee at this time,” said Dan Mead, president and chief executive officer of Verizon Wireless.

We’re impressed. It took Bank of America weeks of being burned in effigy to scrap its plan to charge a $5/month fee to debit card users.

Earlier today, Verizon said it would not cave to public pressure because the company felt that the way the fee was set up left customers a sufficient number of options to pay their bills without being hit by the fee.

Perhaps it was the news that the FCC, still drunk with power over its part in slaying the AT&T/T-Mobile merger, announced it would be looking into the matter. After all, as a number of readers who tipped us to this news pointed out, VZW is currently in the process of buying all sorts of spectrum from cable providers and needs to play nice with the FCC if it wants the review process to go smoothly.

Comments

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  1. smo0 says:

    Hahahaha.
    GOD I LOVE THE INTERNET!!!!!!

  2. Bob says:

    And they’ll just raise everyone’s rates by 2 dollars starting in 3… 2… 1…

  3. scoosdad says:

    “Can you hear me now?”

  4. penuspenuspenus says:

    Verizon should take a page out of AT&T’s playbook and offer rebate/offers for subscribing to autopay. Not penalize for not doing it.

  5. swarrior216 says:

    Hahaha, suckers!

  6. Raider Duck says:

    Great job, Verizon! With one proposed move, you:

    A) Angered a ton of existing customers,

    B) Got the FCC interested in your business practices (and not in a good way, either), and

    C) Gave some outstanding free advertising to AT&T, Sprint and T-Mobile.

    Nicely done!

    • smo0 says:

      This this and this……

    • Rexy on a rampage says:

      For AT&T: I
      Against: IIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII

    • Weekilter says:

      Shades of Reed Hastings and Netflix.

      • RvLeshrac says:

        Except Netflix initiated a fee increase BECAUSE THE AMOUNT THEY HAVE NO CHOICE BUT TO PAY LICENSE-HOLDERS FOR CONTENT DOUBLED AND TRIPLED. Seriously, what the fuck do people not understand about that?

        Verizon’s costs didn’t rise *AT ALL*.

  7. Ed says:

    Way to go VZW! Going for the coveted “Worst Company of the Year” award I see.

    • LadySiren is murdering her kids with HFCS and processed cheese says:

      It’s gonna be a deathmatch between BofA and VZW for the coveted Golden Poo!

    • Jawaka says:

      I don’t think that their changing their mind about a controversial fee due to customer outcry is really grounds for the worst company award. I mean after all, they did change their minds.

    • crazydavythe1st says:

      Seriously? If Verizon is the worst company you deal with then you have it pretty good.

  8. Tegan says:

    Not gonna lie, I’m liking this trend of companies actually responding to customer outrage. Also, I wish the dead kitty story would quit showing up next to the comments :(

    • Yacko says:

      But unlike Japan, you never see the CEO in shame, bowing and scraping in humiliation, with the small possibility you might read about a Verizon corporate suicide in the next mornings news.

    • Ed says:

      This is not “responding to outrage” as much as it is caving in to the publicity. Make no mistake, if it weren’t for the internet, no amount of letters and phonecalls protesting this would have changed VZW’s mind. Same for BOA. Same for GoDaddy, except that situation required the internet to begin with. :-)

  9. Kaleey says:

    Customer feedback, my bare bottom. They backed down because the FCC was going to investigate.

    “Oh, no sir, nobody here but us doormice. Move along now, nothing to look at heeeeeere…”

    • TouchMyMonkey says:

      This is exactly the sort of “over-regulation” the Tea Party is complaining about. Not stifling markets, not punishing “job creators,” but keeping corporate people (thanks, SCOTUS) from screwing us over. Remember that next November when the Republican nominee starts talking smack about how our soshalist preznit is wrecking our economy and destroying jobs.

      • hansolo247 says:

        This is completely outside the bounds of any power the FCC thinks it may have.

        They would have pulled the fee on the outrage alone.

        I’m not defending Verizon, but you can’t exactly say the cell phone industry is a free market. It’s heavily regulated, and the companies in it LOVE these regulations because it keeps competition out.

        • kc2idf says:

          I’m not so sure about that.

          Cell companies need spectrum. The FCC regulates the spectrum. The cell companies and the FCC must therefore be on good terms. If the FCC starts to take an interest in a cell company’s poor behaviour, the cell company may very well find it difficult to secure the spectrum they need to meet customer demand.

      • maruawe says:

        TouchMyMonkey Remember that there two parties in Washington not just one… AND both are at fault for the mess……. I’m really tired of all the blame going to the Republicans, When there are numerous bills in the senate that have been tabled because they are Republican house bills..
        SO lets put the blame equally on both parties

    • Eagle Eye says:

      and why would you think the FCC became interested? Customer outrage maybe?

  10. FrugalFreak says:

    “The company continues to encourage customers to take advantage of the numerous simple and convenient payment methods it provides.”

    I take that as a “We really want to autobill you so You are less likely to dispute charges if they should occur since alot of people Don’t keep tabs on easy-pay transactions”

    Just My opinion, not fact.

  11. Booga Booga says:

    Honestly I don’t know why they ever agreed to take a credit/debit card of payment given they have to fork over X% of the transaction to the bank. This is the only household bill I have that allows me to pay this way (which I do for the cash back, btw). All of my other household online bills require that I pay directly out of my checking account.

  12. longfeltwant says:

    They don’t get it.

    PAYING BY CREDIT CARD AFTER RECEIVING A BILL, IS THE WAY CONSUMERS WANT TO PAY THEIR BILLS. This won’t change for the next generation at least. So just build the cost of business into your pricing structure, will you please?

    Fergodsake, why isn’t the price of a thing the way to fund providing the thing? If you’re going to charge me for the phone, plus charge me for your taxes, plus charge me for your billing system, plus charge me extra for texting, plus charge me extra for minutes, then WHAT THE HELL IS THE ACTUAL COST OF THE SERVICE FOR? What does it cover?

    • FrugalFreak says:

      a percentage of profit they feel they should be guaranteed to make. Once prices creep down they can’t stand losing the competitive price edge so they advertise same price while adding fees to keep same profit margin even if costs go up or demand dies a little.

    • Lincoln says:

      Huh? I’m a “consumer”, 27 and I’ve never paid a single bill by credit card. Heck, I’ve never had the slightest inclination to do so.

      Actually, I don’t get why anyone would want to do that. You have a bill. You can either pay the bill immediately (check, online billpay) and never think about it again or you can “pay” it with a credit card where you have to think about it again when the credit card statement comes.

      Bank of America’s online billplay just makes it too damn easy, too.

      • Jawaka says:

        Agreed. I don’t use BoA but my bank has online bill paying as well.

        I’d never pay any other way.

      • baquwards says:

        I autopay my bills onto one credit card and make one payment a month instead of multiple ones, and earn points on the card to boot. Win Win for me. Since I already do autopay on my VZW account this fee didn’t apply to me.

  13. sjb says:

    They will now just raise the base cost on new contracts by about $5 and do the AT&T rebate thing for subscribing to autopay

  14. Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

    “The price of freedom is eternal vigilance.”
    – Thomas Jefferson

    No quote is apt that right now.

    Without our collective push-back against policies like this, our consumer rights will be gradually chipped away. Truly, we cannot ever waver from our civic duties, because the other side will definitely never waiver.

    • Skyhawk says:

      Not to be argumentative, but all this outrage over $2, while we bend over and let federal, state, and local governments take up to 50% of our income.

      Penny-wise and pound foolish?

  15. homehome says:

    Wow, yall actually made them cave lol, i just wrote they wouldn’t. Must be trying get that FCC help.

  16. Alliance to Restore the Republic of the United States of America says:

    I would have given them $2 to spare me the snore-inducing, insulting corporate doublespeak.

  17. blinky says:

    the fee “which was designed to improve the efficiency of those transactions.”

    How in heaven’s name was charging for using a credit card supposed to improve the efficiency of the transaction? Except the money-making efficiency, of course.

  18. gqcarrick says:

    When will companies learn. Pissing off the internet is bad for business.

  19. RoadDogg says:

    Good. They can go charge $2 for trying to pay anywhere other then online, not the other way around.

  20. Grungo says:

    I hope the roll-back of this fee won’t affect the year end bonus for the brilliant Verizon executive who thought it up.

  21. Torchwood says:

    Some exec is looking at the bonehead of the year award.

  22. u1itn0w2day says:

    This is only round one. Luckily there’s enough naricissitic executives at Verizon that want to be percieved as a good person. This could also be temporary strategic decision with an even higher fee or cost down the road. But, savor the victory for now.

  23. hiphopnerd says:

    Can we do this to RCN now? They charge a $1 fee for one-time payments online, whether it’s from a credit card or a checking account.

  24. Scamazon says:

    Huh, at least they took the criticism, stood their ground, and caved when they were about to be investigated. That was a quicker cave than the Nexflix debacle that cost that company dearly! I love Internet backlash! Well, until the Corporations get their Holiday wish and censor the Internet. Come on Lawmakers, you know, that thing with the tubes and wires that you have no clue about except to harass people for campaign money for unlimited negative TV ads…

  25. Scoutin76 says:

    Oh how the power of the angry internet has grown… it could take over the world.. oh wait…

  26. tbax929 says:

    Verizon also, stupidly, decided to announce this while their 4G network has been down for at least 2 days in many areas. This after we had the same issue earlier in December. I won’t even go into the whole Occupy movement and how we plebes are finally fighting back against these big companies.

    At least they responded to the backlash, so I give them a one-hand, slow clap for that.

  27. Firevine says:

    “At Verizon, we take great care to listen to our customers.”

    BAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA *takes a breath* HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!

    Hopefully, such quick backpedaling will prompt the FCC to investigate further.

  28. PLATTWORX says:

    When will banks and wireless companies learn that they will be under INTENSE consumer and government pressure if they try and impose any new fees. Verizon should have known after what BofA went through with the debit cards that the media would have grabbed this and made it a PR disaster.

    Oh well. Guess they have to learn the hard way.

  29. LanMan04 says:

    +1 Mononoke

  30. dush says:

    Wow I feel sorry for all the people who just went through the hassle canceling service over this just to find out the fee isn’t getting instituted after all.

  31. djshinyo says:

    So…Verizon tried to do this months ago with a $3 fee, and failed. Now they tried to do a $2 fee….fail. How long ’til they charge you an extra dollar? Shit, it’s only a dollar!

  32. The Poke says:

    Hey, any National Grid customers out there? They charge $2.50 to pay by credit card. If you’ve got a problem with this like I do, send them an email. Maybe some customer pressure on them might lead to a change of policy just like with Verizon.

  33. junkemail says:

    “The company made the decision in response to customer feedback about the plan, which was designed to improve the efficiency of those transactions.”
    How does charging me more improve efficiency?? Oh wait, I get it, if more people switch to other carriers, it’s less work for them. Got it.

  34. abucsfan says:

    I said yesterday that I wasn’t going to go Verizon and I’m still not going to!

  35. maruawe says:

    The fact that customers are tired of the add on fees by cable,telephone and banks and are willing to leave in droves is proving to businesses that they had better start listening to what consumers are saying —– Look at GoDaddy and the SOPA bill
    Consumers are tired of the bull put out by companies and are revolting when pushed to far.
    Businesses will have to walk a thin line in 2012 to avoid these pitfalls with customers .

  36. doctor_cos wants you to remain calm says:

    We should band together and charge Verizon a $5 ‘on-time payment’ fee when we pay our bills. Just sayin’

  37. nikalseyn says:

    I would expect there may be an opening at the executive level at Verizon now. Whoever made the decision to charge to pay online/by phone probably belongs somewhere else within the corporate structure after that one. I would suggest Verizon look for a replacement outside the financial community. The main criteria should be someone with some common sense.

  38. yurei avalon says:

    HA! HA F-ing HA HA!

    Suck it, Verizon.

  39. Span_Wolf says:

    Great, now help get rid of Sprint’s same scam fee that’s FIVE dollars instead of two for the exact same thing.

  40. Dalsnsetters says:

    My city instituted a $3.75 “convenience fee” if we want to pay our (water) bills online. A buck or two I can understand, but $3.75?!?! That’s 15-20% of my monthly water bill!!!

    I send them a check every month. Let’s see which is more convenient for them.

  41. mingtae says:

    No one complains about the $5.99 fee charged when you make a payment over the phone with a Comcast rep.

  42. nocturnaljames says:

    I refused to ever be a verizon customer because of their god-aweful annoying commercials. This is just another reason.