Under withering public criticism and a sideways glance from the (Federal Communications Commission) FCC, Verizon has canceled a $2 billing fee they introduced yesterday.
The new fee was to begin January 15. It would help them applied to consumers who pay their bill online through the company’s website or their mobile app. The fee could be avoided by the customer signing up for automatic payment withdrawals, or by paying with electronic or physical checks.
Verizon never explained the reasoning behind the $2 fee. It apparently was simply an attempt to discourage users from that payment method, and encourage them to sign up for automatic billing. Though Verizon does incur some costs in billing through this method, most methods of billing do have costs involved, whether it’s done monthly or one at a time.
When news of the $2 fee broke yesterday, Twitter was lit up with complaints from Verizon customers. Verizon appears to have even aggravated the situation by referring to the new fee as a “convenience” fee. Users complaining on Twitter did not review the fee as convenient at all, for them.
Less than 24 hours after the fee was introduced, the FCC said they would take a look at this new fee. “On behalf of American consumers, we’re concerned about Verizon’s actions and are looking into the matter,” they said in a statement. No official FCC action was taken prior to Verizon backing off the idea.
So much like the $5 fee that Bank of America introduced and then withdrew due to customer complaints, Verizon has put the brakes on the $2 billing fee. The sluggish economy, and the ability of the general consumer to be heard through use of social networks, is putting new teeth into the mouths of consumers.
Unlike Netflix, who ignored their customers’ anger and watched customers leave, BOA and Verizon have avoided being bitten by changing their plans.