Verizon apparently missed the memo that consumers don’t like to pay to access options that are rightfully theirs–like paying a bill. Remember how quickly Bank of America backtracked with the $5 monthly fee they were going to charge people to access their own money? But if the phone company is looking at things from an airline perspective, they might assume that sure, consumers will put up a fuss initially, but at the end of the day what other choice do they have?
Starting Jan. 15, Verizon will charge customers at $2 fee if they pay their bill with a credit card online or over the phone. Most companies I’ve had personal experience with charge to pay a bill over the phone–and typically more than $2–but those fees were standard policies from the beginning, not a sudden attempt to cover the ability to “continue to support these bill payment options” as Verizon explained it. And being charged to simply pay a bill online with a credit card is extremely rare.
A Verizon memo says it will offer customers free options before charging the fee. That includes snail mail, enrolling in Verizon’s AutoPay, allowing the company to keep a credit, debit or ATM card or bank account on file (their preferred method), electronic check, using your bank’s online bill pay, or paying at a Verizon kiosk.
It should be noted that Verizon Communications Inc., the landline phone company that owns most of Verizon Wireless, tried to impose a $3.50 fee for people who paid their bill for FiOS TV or Internet service month-to-month by credit card last year and backed out after complaints. I’m pretty sure this attempt will follow suit. With enough people struggling to just pay a bill, the last thing customers need are erroneous fees.
Does your phone company charge you fees if you pay your bill a certain way?
Brande Victorian is a blogger and culture writer in New York City. Follower her on Twitter at @be_vic.