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Verizon Backtracks On $2 Convenience Fee 281

Posted by Soulskill
from the people-have-spoken dept.
Velcroman1 writes with a followup to yesterday's news that Verizon would be implementing a $2 'convenience fee' for certain online and phone-based bill payments. In addition to dealing with outrage from customers, Verizon also felt resistance from the Federal Communications Commission, who decided they would investigate the matter. Today, in a brief press release, Verizon announced that they've canceled their plans for the new fee in response to customer feedback.
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Verizon Backtracks On $2 Convenience Fee

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday December 30, 2011 @05:46PM (#38542664)

    Really it was just a thinly veiled attempt to force customers onto their auto-pay system because if you switched to auto-pay they waived the fee.

  • And... (Score:5, Informative)

    by Pharmboy (216950) on Friday December 30, 2011 @05:46PM (#38542668) Journal

    ...they will no doubt try to make themselves looks a hero for not screwing us over by adding that charge. Yes, us. I was already looking at other carriers, only for the principle of charging us more for costing them less.

    This is as bad as when the phone company charged $4 a month for "touch tone service" when it actually costs them less to provide it than to deal with pulse dialing.

  • Similarities? (Score:2, Informative)

    by nikomen (774068) on Friday December 30, 2011 @05:53PM (#38542724)
    This may be slightly off-topic, but don't some Satellite/Cable companies do similar things? I seem to recall a particular provider charging $5/month if you didn't sign up for auto-pay and/or paperless billing. The reason was that they wanted to save trees. However, the same nameless provider would send mailers at least a couple times a month if you canceled their service, thereby negating the the "tree savings." Seems like Verizon and other companies are just trying to make another buck by taking advantage of their customer once they've been locked into a contract.
  • Re:And... (Score:5, Informative)

    by Obfuscant (592200) on Friday December 30, 2011 @06:11PM (#38542922)

    This is as bad as when the phone company charged $4 a month for "touch tone service" when it actually costs them less to provide it than to deal with pulse dialing.

    Back when this was a regular charge, it did cost more to provide touch tone dialing. They had to add the DTMF-to-pulse decoders to existing systems. About the time that the old step-by-step hardware was replaced by something more modern (crossbar) and the pulse decoding became the more expensive part, the special charge for DTMF was removed.

  • by ArchieBunker (132337) on Friday December 30, 2011 @06:15PM (#38543000) Homepage

    Years ago when the FUSF telecom fee expired (to pay for the 1898 Spanish American War) Verizon decided to introduce a new fee that somehow just randomly was the same value as the old federal fee. They backed down pretty quick once the feds got involved but for christ sakes like John Stewart said "BE A PERSON".

  • by mysidia (191772) * on Friday December 30, 2011 @06:59PM (#38543404)

    you are permitted to charge a fee for a credit transaction

    You can charge lots of fees, but you may not charge a fee for using a credit card, or you would be in violation of Visa and Mastercard guidelines, and subject to losing your privilege of processing MC/Visa, if your violation were reported by your customers:

    From Mastercard credit card acceptance guidelines [fivecentnickel.com]

    Charges to cardholders. A merchant may not directly or indirectly require a cardholder to pay a surcharge or any part of the merchant processing fees charged in connection with a transaction. However, fees are allowable if they are charged regardless of the form of the payment, and merchants can provide a cash discount.

    Minimum/maximum transaction amount prohibited. A merchant may not require, or indicate that it requires, a minimum or maximum transaction amount in order to accept a valid and properly presented MasterCard.

  • Re:And... (Score:4, Informative)

    by quacking duck (607555) on Friday December 30, 2011 @07:17PM (#38543562)

    Not in Canada, where Bell still charges about $4 for touchtone service. My parents are grandfathered into a plan without this fee (they dial out pulse, and can then switch to touchtone if they have menus to navigate), but for all new traditional landline connections it's a non-optional fee.

    Just another reason I ditched my landline when I finally got a cell phone.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday December 30, 2011 @07:23PM (#38543600)

    For all the furor over Verizon, there are multitudes of companies (Kentucky Utilities, BOA, my local water company, etc.) that do this.

    Worse, they frequently don't give a sufficient grace period to pay the bill without accruing late fees (especially if you travel on short notice a lot), so you are left with either paying that or for the honor of paying by phone.

    Of course, they don't offer automatic bill pay through your credit card (only complete access to your bank account will do), and have even been told by a Bank of America representative that it is illegal to pay a debt with a credit card (WTF!?) as the reason they don't offer automatic bill pay with a credit card, but will happily charge you $25 for paying by phone.

    It would be nice if there were investigations into the seedy billing practices of companies (hell, one time I tried to return an item to Guiry's in Colorado, to which they took the item and stated they would issue me a check. Much later, they claimed I stole the item and apparently the sales receipt as well, and refused to return my money. Lesson learned- only pay through a credit card), but since companies are Super Citizens, they get to float all manner of shady practices and only a few get caught in the limelight for their sleaziness.

    And especially with the utilities, since they are the only game in town, you will comply with their terms.

  • by Fnord666 (889225) on Friday December 30, 2011 @08:09PM (#38543990) Journal

    It seems you're correct. If that's the case, there are literally hundreds of convenience stores and gas stations around here that are violating their merchant agreements. Maybe I ought to make a weekend event out of reporting as many of them as I can to VISA...

    I ask the merchant if they are allowed to charge a % fee for using a credit card. When they say that they can, get them to itemize it on the bill of sale. Once you have that, dispute the fee with your credit card company and get them to reverse that part of the transaction. Worked every time so far.

Take care of the luxuries and the necessities will take care of themselves. -- Lazarus Long

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