That didn’t take long. A day after Verizon confirmed it was going to charge $2 for single credit and debit card payments online and over the phone, it backed down following a chorus of complaints online. This Internet thing works, apparently.
Verizon originally framed the convenience fee as a way to cover costs for single payments. It was supposed to go into effect on Jan. 15. But many, including my colleague Kevin Fitchard, saw the fee as a way to direct people to pay bills through their preferred channels including AutoPay, which is one of a number of payment methods that would not require a fee.
“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.
Verizon may have been motivated by news that the Federal Communications Commission was also looking into the fee. “On behalf of American consumers, we’re concerned about Verizon’s actions and are looking into the matter,” the FCC said just hours before Verizon reversed course.
Verizon already has to deal with questions about recent LTE outages. And the fact that it was introducing a new fee that seemed to penalize its own customers did not go over well with consumers, some of whom brought up comparisons to Bank of America’s failed debit card fee.
It’s nice to see that Verizon was listening to consumers and reacted quickly to its overreach. But it should have known that a fee like this wouldn’t have gone over well. Score another one for the Internet.