UPDATE: This morning, we reported that Verizon will add a $2 “convenience” fee to pay your bills online. But after much media and consumer backlash, the company is backing off.
“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,” Verizon CEO Dan Mead said in a statement.
An online petition — signed by over 50,000 people — was launched fighting the convenience fee. And, according to reports, the FCC planned to get involved as well: “On behalf of American consumers, we’re concerned about Verizon’s actions and are looking into the matter.”
Are you still mad at Verizon or glad that they listened to their customer base?
Here’s our original report:
Over the past 10 years, we’ve watched as all bill payments gradually moved online. It was a win-win for everyone: Consumers no longer had to chase down a stamp to send a bill via the mail, companies avoided the extra cost of processing mailed-in payments, and the environment got to keep some of its trees. But now, Verizon is making life a tad more difficult for its costumers by enforcing, strangely enough, a “convenience fee.”
The company has announced on their website that costumers paying bills online or by the phone via credit or debit will have to pay $2 extra for the convenience. (The fee is determined on a per-statement basis starting Jan. 15.) There are, however, ways to avoid the fee, but they are hardly convenient. Among the options: Payment via electronic checks, Verizon Wireless gift cards, or the good old-fashioned mail. Or, of course, you could always stretch your legs and pay at an actual Verizon kiosk.
Now, I know this indicates that we’re a lazy bunch, unwilling and unable to perform tasks that seemed simple 10 years ago. But as Netflix proved this year, if there’s anything that consumers hate, it’s change. If there’s anything that consumers loathe, it’s change that comes with an added fee. Combine that with the fact that the $2 is infuriatingly labeled a “convenience fee,” and you’ve got a batch of consumers who, for the first time in years, may start thinking AT&T looks pretty good.
Angry yet, PopWatchers?
Follow Kate on Twitter @KateWardEW