Feeds

Verizon retreats on ‘convenience fee’ for online bill payment

Public outcry causes backpedaling in 24 hours

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Top three mobile application threats

Verizon Wireless has dropped plans to institute a $2 convenience fee for subscribers who pay their bills online or via phone calls.

Yesterday the company quietly announced the fee would be started on 15 January, and it said was “designed to address costs incurred by us for only those customers who choose to make single bill payments in alternate payment channels (online, mobile, telephone),” the company said in a statement.

Quite what’s so expensive about online and telephone payment these days had more than a few people confused - including El Reg, who received no satisfactory explanation from Verizon's press representative. To make matters more confusing the charge was waived for a variety of other payment options.

For example, those people still paying by posting in physical checks requiring sorting were not expensive enough to warrant the charge, nor too were people paying by visiting kiosks in Verizon’s retail stores, or using the company’s own payment system My Verizon Online. Calling it a convenience fee sounded a tad insulting too.

Social media sites lit up with the news, with Verizon Wireless trending near the top of US twitter rankings. An online petition was started, collecting thousands of signatures, and forums debated the best way to get back at the company, ranging from simply leaving to finding the most expensive remaining payment option and using that. Within barely a day, the company caved.

“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 in a statement.

The speed of the retreat indicated the growing power of social media, and the online world, to marshal consumer opinion. The news, put out in the traditional quiet period during the holidays, might have slipped by unnoticed and failed to muster support. Such traditional strategies are unlikely to work in the face of a more informed populace.

Bank of America is still smarting from its plans for a $5 service charge for deposit accounts sparked outrage and online campaigns. Marketing experts believe the cost to the company’s brand has been severe, and the customers switched to alternative banks and credit unions in droves. ®

Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction

More from The Register

next story
Virgin Media so, so SORRY for turning spam fire-hose on its punters
Hundreds of emails flood inboxes thanks to gaffe
A black box for your SUITCASE: Now your lost luggage can phone home – quite literally
Breakfast in London, lunch in NYC, and your clothes in Peru
AT&T dangles gigabit broadband plans over 100 US cities
So soon after a mulled Google Fiber expansion, fancy that
AT&T threatens to pull out of FCC wireless auctions over purchase limits
Company wants ability to buy more spectrum space in auction
Google looks to LTE and Wi-Fi to help it lube YouTube tubes
Bandwidth hogger needs tube embiggenment if it's to succeed
Turnbull gave NBN Co NO RULES to plan blackspot upgrades
NBN Co faces huge future Telstra bills and reduces fibre footprint
NBN Co plans fibre-to-the-basement blitz to beat cherry-pickers
Heading off at the pass operation given same priority as blackspot fixing
NBN Co in 'broadband kit we tested worked' STUNNER
Announcement of VDSL trial is not proof of concept for fibre-to-the-node
prev story

Whitepapers

Securing web applications made simple and scalable
In this whitepaper learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.
Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction
Based on their experience using HP ArcSight Enterprise Security Manager for IT security operations, Finansbank moved to HP ArcSight ESM for fraud management.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
SANS - Survey on application security programs
In this whitepaper learn about the state of application security programs and practices of 488 surveyed respondents, and discover how mature and effective these programs are.
3 Big data security analytics techniques
Applying these Big Data security analytics techniques can help you make your business safer by detecting attacks early, before significant damage is done.