You Win... Again!
There they go again.
Another company trying to raise fees on consumers, and having to do an embarrassing about-face.
This time it’s Verizon. The nation’s biggest cell phone company with 91 million customers wanted to charge a brand spanking new fee to people paying their bill, even if it was on time.
This was the plan: people who pay online using a credit card or by telephone would have faced a two dollar charge even if they paid on time and in full. Verizon called it a convenience fee, but really? Who’s convenience? Not mine, that’s for sure.
Now, for its part, Verizon said there were lots of different ways to pay your bill that wouldn’t have attracted a fee. Here are three of them: paying by old fashioned paper check, customers making electronic check payments through my Verizon online and people making automatic credit card payments through Verizon’s autopay. Even though the fee wasn’t intended for all customers, a lot of people weren’t’ happy about the new charge.
Some of you reached out to me on Twitter at GerriWillisFBN.
Like one viewer who says: “How would I describe Verizon’s $2 ‘convenience fee.’ What a rip-off!”
Here’s another… “Mad at VZ? Buy the stock; it yields 5% revenge investing! Besides, 5% is a good return now.” great I also got a lot of reaction today on my Facebook page. Some were quite hilarious!
Like Donald, he says, “Hey Verizon! Can you hear me now? Good! I’m leaving!”
Richard’s outraged too: “We should all send them paper checks and let them deal with the expense of managing all that paper.” Bill though took a contrarian view: “It’s a business, they are allowed to set any fees they choose.”
Finally, Michael sums it up well: “I guess Verizon did not learn from the recent PR mistakes by Netflix and Bank of America.” It took them about 24 hours, but they finally did give in... scared to death of the rising consumer backlash. There was even an online petition calling for Verizon to get rid of the fee. You can see it at www.change.org/petitions.
The Federal Communications Commission weighed in to the issue, and said it was looking into the fee. They say they were concerned on behalf of American consumers. So nice that the fee is gone, why would Verizon risk ticking off 91 million people in the first place?
The method behind Verizon’s madness, according to published reports, was to get customers to pay automatically through their website. But why use a putative fee to do that?
For example, AT&T has given customers $10 gift cards to switch to autopay. I like the carrot, not the stick.
In fact, we know companies, even the biggest, listen to their customers. When Bank of America announced a $60 a year fee on debit card holders the reaction was so swift and so negative bank of America backed off.
Thankfully the same happened here.