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Verizon Adds $2 Charge For Paying Your Bill Online 562

An anonymous reader writes with this excerpt from (based on a report at Droid Life) that makes me consider quitting or at least suspending the very expensive service 3G data service I get from Verizon: "With 2012 about to start, it seems Verizon has decided paying your bill online or over the phone is now worthy of an extra charge. So, from January 15, anyone choosing to pay their monthly bill using either method will incur a $2 charge. Verizon is classing the charge as a 'convenience fee' which translates into them deciding allowing you to pay either online or over the phone is a convenience. They also explain in the FAQ above that the fee allows them, 'to continue to support these bill payment options.' Really, Verizon? When did offering online payments or accepting phone calls from customers get so much more expensive?"
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Verizon Adds $2 Charge For Paying Your Bill Online

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  • by mehrotra.akash ( 1539473 ) on Thursday December 29, 2011 @09:50AM (#38524994)
    Arent online payments actuallt cheaper for them?
    They need a small team of highly paid people instead of thousands of people across the country to collect cheques from drop boxes and cash at stores.
    If they have 1 person per store to collect cash, wouldnt they have to increase the no. by a lot to make up for the extra load created by this fee?
  • Re:Ah, America! (Score:5, Interesting)

    by jpstanle ( 1604059 ) on Thursday December 29, 2011 @10:05AM (#38525184)

    It's the complete reverse in the rest of America, too. Everyone else is pushing for online payment and electronic billing because it saves on paper and postage costs.

    Verizon is the first company I've seen try to pull an asshat move like this. I think why Verizon is trying it now involves a couple things. For one, large telecoms like Verizon and AT&T have for years felt entitled to licenses to print money hand over fist, and whenever revenue drops due to market changes or technological development, their biggest priority is to find somewhere else to recoup that lost revenue. My guess here is that Verizon noticed that a majority of their customers were already paying their bills online, so they decided to start charging a fee to do it, knowing that their customer base already appreciates the convenience of online bill payment and inertia would prevent them from paying by mail. Other service providers, public utilities for example, likely have much older, entrenched, and less 'tech-savvy' customers so they need to provide incentives to move towards online billing and its associated cost savings.

  • by dnahelicase ( 1594971 ) on Thursday December 29, 2011 @10:10AM (#38525258)

    Is it cheaper for them to accept a payment via mail or at the store?

    You'll never know. Last time I got a cellphone I demanded the Verizon employee tell me what my bill would be for a normal month. Not the "45 voice + 30 data" but what the number I would actually be billed after taxes, fees, interest, gratuity, and graft. They couldn't tell me. They said there was no way to get that number until the bill was calculated because of the taxes. ATT could tell me within a nickel without any hesitation.

    Verizon has been struggling for a long time. If they don't get their activation fees, random fees, roaming charges, and payment fees - they would go broke. It's only fair that we consumers would help a struggling giant in this era where everyone is ditching their cell phones for landlines and carrier pigeons. We pay $35 to have the privilege of becoming their customer, $200 if we want to stop being a customer early - it's only fair we pay $24/year to stay their customer.

  • by berashith ( 222128 ) on Thursday December 29, 2011 @10:22AM (#38525408)

    It probably does have a chance of backfiring, but I am sure they know how locked in their customers are, and how unwilling others may be to move. The risk is likely outweighed by the profit, and the bad PR will be replaced shortly by another cell company being even more assholish.

  • Re:Ah, America! (Score:5, Interesting)

    by SScorpio ( 595836 ) on Thursday December 29, 2011 @10:30AM (#38525506)

    Being responsible with handling debits like student loans and a card loan are a great way for a bank to calculate their risks when giving you 100k+ for a house. Sure Johnny might be very responsible and has worked hard all his life paying off this education in cash as well as buying a car with cash. But to a bank they have no record that he has made monthly payment in a timely manor.

    I had a co-worker buying a house about five years ago. He always used a debit card and didn't have a credit history. He had a difficulty getting a long as he had a provide proof of monthly bill payments. This amounted to his apartment rent, and his monthly WoW charge. I think he still ended up needing a co-signer.

  • Re:Ah, America! (Score:4, Interesting)

    by hazem ( 472289 ) on Thursday December 29, 2011 @12:04PM (#38526654) Journal

    The other obvious reason is that if the company taking the money takes too much. If they "accidentally" bill you for a year of service instead of a month, and you have this coming from your checking account, you suddenly may not be able to pay your rent/mortgage and might even have checks bounce.

    Sure you might get it all sorted out with the biller and your bank but in the mean time it can cause a lot of problems.

    Using a credit-card account as a buffer protects your checking account from these kinds of accidents. Plus banks tend to be more responsive to credit card problems than they are with checking account problems. With the first, it's their money that's messed with, with the latter it's yours.

Someday somebody has got to decide whether the typewriter is the machine, or the person who operates it.