Verizon customers are in an uproar after discovering that the carrier will start charging a $2 "convenience" fee to process one-time credit and debit card bill payments made by phone and online. The new fee goes into effect Jan. 15, and will only be charged to people making one-time payments directly to Verizon either by phone or on a Verizon website.
Originally reported by Droid Life this week, Verizon's convenience fee has inspired customers to consider canceling their contracts and others to sign an online petition demanding the carrier reverse its plan.
Verizon says the fee offsets costs incurred by the company for customers who make single payments through what the carrier calls "alternate payment channels," namely via telephone or the Web. You can avoid the $2 fee by paying by electronic check or enrolling in Verizon's automatic payment system that automatically deducts your bill from a bank account or credit card. The fee also won't be charged to those who pay in person at a Verizon payment kiosk, online through a bank, by mail using a check or money order, or online using Verizon Wireless gift and rebate cards.
The carrier claims its new fee is meant to make up the difference for costs the company incurs such as credit card transaction fees. But I can't help noticing the new system appears to be designed to encourage more people to sign up for automatic bill payment. Such a move could help Verizon reduce costs related to chasing down delinquent customers and create a more reliable monthly stream of cash payments.
Whatever its reasons, Verizon's actions have sparked outrage among its customers. A simple Twitter search reveals many customers calling on Verizon to cancel its "greedy $2 fee." Others are vowing to pay by paper check in an attempt to increase the company's costs.
December has not been a good month for Verizon's customer relations. The carrier has also been dealing with several service outages on its new 4G LTE network that have also frustrated Verizon users. The most recent network problem was resolved on Thursday.