Skip to comments.Verizon Wireless backs off $2 fee after deluge of digital customer outrage
Posted on 12/30/2011 1:14:19 PM PST by Sub-Driver
Verizon Wireless backs off $2 fee after deluge of digital customer outrage Published: Friday, December 30, 2011, 2:21 PM Updated: Friday, December 30, 2011, 3:24 PM Eliot Caroom/The Star-Ledger By Eliot Caroom/The Star-Ledger
Verizon Wireless said today it would back off of a planned $2 fee for some online bill payments, only a day after the fee was first announced.
The concession came after customers vented online, petitions gathered virtual signatures and the Federal Communications Commission said it was concerned.
The company announced yesterday that the fee would go into effect on Jan. 15 for customers making one-time monthly bill payments online or over the phone with a credit card. It didn't apply to automatic bill pay, mailed checks or payments in person.
That angered customers like Christina Davidson, who signed an online petition to block the move.
"If this goes through I am leaving Verizon for good!!" Davidson wrote, sparing no exclamation points. "I pay almost $200 a month to Verizon and now you want to charge me for paying my bill online? IT'S DISGUSTING!!!!!!"
The petition on Change.org was one of two on the site set up to block Verizon's fee--taken together, more than 50,000 signatures were collected today at 3 p.m.
One of them was set up by Ohio firefighter, paramedic and self-described tech follower Bill Millard, who said he was surprised the company made the move, especially after Bank of America was slammed by customers for a new $5 fee and was forced to back down.
"The economy's bad at this time. A lot of people are hurting for money," Millard said in an interview today. "For them to charge a $2 fee for paying your bill is kind of ridiculous."
An FCC spokesman confirmed this afternoon that the government planned to investigate.
(Excerpt) Read more at nj.com ...
The same guys who advised Netflix earlier this year.
That ended so quickly, I wonder if it was something they just floated to test people’s reaction.
Greed. Mankind’s huge sin.
A People’s victory. Verizon was wrong to charge for paying online when they claim that “paper” costs them money.
Did Verizon sleep through the Bank of America check-card fee fiasco?
Per FoxNews this morning, Verison tried a similar stunt a few months ago and got all kinds of flack from their customers.
Look at how Netflix’s stumbling and bumbling cost them $billions in value.
Sometimes one has to wonder how these companies every became viable only to have their management make such stupid, costly blunders later.
A customers victory. The free market in action.
“A Peoples victory.”
It’s NOT the peoples victory unless Verizon suffers-—that means a lot of customers should leave Verizon just because the company tried to screw them—not because it didn’t get away with doing so.
Yeah and during a Holiday.........
Qwest ran a similar trial for $1.00 bill pay online, I called and switched back to paper bill rather than e-bills and sent them checks for several months, it was changd back fairly quickly, I think they just trying to pad the profit. Way cheaper to have online bill pay rather than processing checks.
And another in-over-his/her-head MBA heads back to mom’s basement in shame...
Who in hell approves these stupid ideas anyhow?
I used to work for a third party benefits administrator, not a big company but a fairly big player in the area and privately owned.
Shortly before I left, management announced to us account administrators that they would no longer print or mail copies of our premium bills but they would only be available via email but if a customer wanted a paper bill, theyd be charged something ridiculous like $20 a month.
Many of us who worked with the clients on a daily pointed out that some of our clients were small mom and pop businesses and some (believe it or not) didnt even have computers or were not particularly computer savy. And what we heard most often from our bigger clients, was not the desire for electronic billing but for electronic bill paying something that was not being offered. Someone pointed out the lunacy of telling customers that they had to have their bill delivered electronically but telling them they still had to pay by check. She was basically told to sit down and shut up and it wasnt her job to question but just to inform the clients of the change.
Oh and of course the bills would be delivered via our secure encrypted email system that most of our clients hated and were constantly being locked out of.
Yea, stupid idea and it isnt always big companies who have them.
Or a diversion.
Effective January 1, the Verizon administrative charge will increase by .16¢ on EVERYONE. Eliminating $2 on some versus getting .16¢ from all customers. Guess which fee didn’t get the headline???? Kabuki theatre and slight of hand is at work.
Too many people think about what makes life easier for them with little regard for how it impacts their customer.
Is the 16¢ fee a change in the contract which can allow customers to exit the contract without a fee? Anyone looking to leave Verizon should read their contracts to see if they can now leave.
Tee-hee. I think that MBA who came up with the white Coca-Cola can lives in the basement next door.
And too many companies dont listen to their employees, the ones who actually deal with the customer on a daily basis after the sale is made.
The last two companies I worked for were like that. Often it was the upper management who said, do anything to make the sale, and the sales people were happy and got their commissions for making undeliverable promises but people like me got to deal with the angry customer and tried to keep them by doing the near impossible but at a big cost to the bottom line.
I loved it when a sales person would offer the services of my department for free to do something completely out of the box just to get the sale. More than once I pointed out that sure we got the sale but for what we are charging per month verses the extra hours my staff has to put in to fulfill it, doing a lot of manual work because our software couldnt accommodate what we promised, we are actually losing money on the deal. And the company wouldnt upgrade our system to truly accommodate what customers wanted but pretended they did and people like me spent hour upon hour of mindlessly and manually crunching spreadsheets.
They didn’t back off, they just said “Okay, we’ll find another way to get the money.” :)
An FCC spokesman confirmed this afternoon that the government planned to investigate.
Verizon backed off because of customer reaction, that's good. Government butting in, that's bad.
My source says that, NO, this increase cannot be used to cancel your contract.
MBA’s from Harvard & Yale....
About a month ago I "graded" to Verizon 4G TLE. I am very unhappy with it compared to my old wireless.
For about 4 years I had Alltel wireless, sorry I can't give you the name or version of their wireless service. When Alltel merged or was bought by Verizon, many said watch out the service will go downhill. I could not tell any difference in service until I upgraded to Verizon 4G.
With Verizon 4G downloads are slower or time out on web sites.
I am well within the area that Verizon shows on their map for 4G service. I use my laptop at my residence, not traveling with it so far.
After the start of the new year the Verizon people and I are going to have some serious talks.
If you would like to know the outcome please let me know by Freepmail and I will keep you advised.
If it was, they got their test results.
They should drop online payments. Force the folks to pay by mail if they don’t want auto. They would reap a large profit from late payment charges
In the real world we keep an eye on the lifetime value of the customer. I pay them $300 a month. It’s garbage like $2.00 fees that cause me to leave. Do they really want to lose someone that pays them $10k over the life of my contract? That’s just stupid.
They’ll just double that to $4 and hide it in their regular service charge.
I wonder if you could fool your bank's online bill-pay to mistake them for a non-electronic payee. Perhaps, instead of selecting the carrier from the bank's list of known payees, you could just enter their name and the address to which snail-mail payments are to be sent (as if they were the local plumber instead of a big corporation). That way, you just fill in the amount and click Make Payment, but they get a paper check in the mail that costs just as much to process as if you had written a check and licked a stamp.
I hate it when our 3rd party benefits company sends me these things, I never read them. I sent a notice back to them telling them if they want us to read the notifications, then they had to send them in a format that didn't require 5 background checks and a blood sample to open! :-)
Dont blame your TPA, rather blame the government and HIPAA regulations that require them to do so. I wasnt allowed to send any email that contained any protected health information including even the name of any insurance subscriber unless I did so via secure and encrypted email. Believe me, it was as much as a PITA for me to send it as Im sure it is for you to open it. But if I didnt, I could lose my job and face penalties or even jail time or fines. I had to explain that to many of my clients like you. It was never easy and I understood and sympathized as every insurance company I dealt with did the same thing.
Some secure email systems are better than others, but the one my last company used sucked.
Ohhh, well that explains a great deal then. Thank you for that.
It was the government, being ever so helpful with HPAA regulations, when they are just dying to put all of our patient information into one spot that has the security of a sieve. (shakes head)
It really makes one wonder what exactly they are doing. (sigh)
Did you see the wave file going around, about a guy that wants to order pizza and by the time the operator is done telling him all about his issues, he ends up with some vegetarian grossness? I feel that’s the way we’re heading. Everyone is going to know everything, that way they (the ubiquitous they) can control the masses.
I do appreciate the info though, I will share with my boss so he doesn’t snark at the girl anymore. We’ve locked ourselves out of those emails so many times. Somedays I only think I am technologically savvy.
Encrypted email? It exists, but, as far as I know, it never caught on (PGP and all that).
Why wouldn't they just post the bills on an HTTPS web site that requires a login? And send a short email to the effect that
your bill is ready, please check your account. That's what the credit card companies do. It's as secure as encrypted email but much easier to use, since all the browsers support it.
I plan to load them up with paper: All the advertising that they send in their bill is going right back to them.
You're being too kind.
Why wouldn't they just post the bills on an HTTPS web site that requires a login? And send a short email to the effect that your bill is ready, please check your account. That's what the credit card companies do. It's as secure as encrypted email but much easier to use, since all the browsers support it.
The company I worked for prior to the last one did just that, posted bills on the clients HTTPS website with a secure login.
But in cases when I had to email to a client or send them a custom report, anytime it included any HIPAA protected information, it had to be via secure email. And anytime I received any email from an insurance company containing HIPAA covered information it was via either secure PGP email or direct secure server to server links.
more like stupidity.....imagine charging people to pay their bills in a very simple,non labor intensive way, on time or earlier....the best customers more or less, and you want to screw them?....
Our local water company charges $2.00 to pay on line also. No one does it. We pay the 45 or so cents and mail the danged thing in.