Verizon To Charge Fees To Process Payments $2 charge just to make a payment online and over the phone
Posted 29 December 2011 - 11:01 PM
NEW YORK (CNNMoney) -- Verizon Wireless will soon make some customers pay for the privilege of paying their bills.
The nation's largest wireless company is instituting a $2 "convenience charge" for those customers who make one-time bill payments using a debit or credit card, either online or by telephone. The fee will go into effect on Jan. 15.
There are three ways for customers to avoid the charge: Customers can make a one-time payment using an electronic check, they can pay their bill using their home banking accounts, such as Citibank (C, Fortune 500) Online, or they can use a Verizon gift card or rebate card. Otherwise, single telephone and online payments will incur a $2 fee.
"The fee will help allow us to continue to support these single bill payment options ... and is designed to address costs incurred by us for only those customers who choose to make single bill payments," the company said in a statement.
Customers can still enroll in a service that will debit their bank accounts or charge their credit cards on a recurring basis for free. They can also show up at a Verizon store to pay without incurring the fee, and they can mail checks to the company.
It's not clear how many of Verizon's 91 million customers will be affected by the new charge. A spokesman from Verizon did not reply to a request for comment.
The news came one day after Verizon Wireless' 4G network suffered its third nationwide outage in as many weeks.
Elsewhere in the industry, a Sprint (S, Fortune 500) spokesman said the company does not have similar fees, though according to Sprint's website, certain customers who have accounts with spending limits are subject to a $5 monthly fee if they're not enrolled in automatic payments.
T-Mobile charges customers $5 if they make payments over the phone with a company representative, a spokeswoman said. AT&T (T, Fortune 500) did not return requests for comment.
Verizon's (VZ, Fortune 500) "convenience charge" was announced at the end of a year in which banks were vilified for charging customers a fee for using their debit cards. The banks claimed that the fees were necessary because new regulations would limit how much revenue they could make on the cards: New rules that went into effect in September capped the fees banks could charge retailers when customers swipe their debit cards.
Dumbest Moments in Business -- All those $5 debit card fees
Bank of America (BAC, Fortune 500) inspired by far the most outrage from customers after it announced it would charge its customers $5 a month for the privilege of using their debit card. Even after most other banks eventually dropped their fees, citing a customer uproar, Bank of America held fast to its decision
"They'll understand what we're doing -- understand we have a right to make a profit," BofA CEO Brian Moynihan stated in October. But by November, the company retreated and dropped the charge.
Verizon's fee is also akin to Ticketmaster, which famously bills a "convenience charge" and "processing fee" on top of the price of every ticket. To top of page
Posted 30 December 2011 - 01:41 AM
(Reuters) - Verizon Wireless, which this month angered customers with three separate data service problems, said on Thursday it will add a $2 fee for one-time telephone and online bill payments.
The planned change, to take effect on January 15, was greeted by a storm of criticism.
Consumer blog Engadget said charging customers to pay was "downright ludicrous." Another tech website, cnet.com, said the move "made little sense."
"The fee is designed to address costs incurred by us for only those customers who choose to make one-time bill payments in alternate payment channels (online, mobile, telephone) and who choose not to use the other options available to them ...," Verizon Wireless spokesman Thomas Pica said in an email.
Verizon Wireless rivals AT&T Inc and Sprint Nextel Corp said they do not charge their customers for any bill-payment options.
In addition, some customers complained on Verizon's online forum on Thursday about problems activating their new phones.
The episode followed reports of a problem with the company's high-speed network on Wednesday. Verizon said on Thursday that it had resolved that issue overnight.
"GROWING PAINS" WITH 4G NETWORK
Verizon, the biggest U.S. mobile service provider, admitted on Thursday it was having "growing pains" with its new fourth generation, 4G, high-speed wireless network and had suffered several separate technical problems that caused service outages.
After saying earlier in the day that services on its older third generation, 3G, network were not affected, the company admitted Thursday night that 3G customers were also affected.
Verizon said it had proactively "moved" its fourth-generation (4G) wireless users onto its third-generation (3G) network to ensure all would have a data connection.
However, Verizon admitted that for brief periods, such as on Wednesday, 4G customers could not connect to the 3G Network as quickly as the company would have liked.
The company also said that it is working closely with its network suppliers to ensure smooth functioning of its 4G network, while estimating that connectivity has been available at about 99 percent of the time this year.
Verizon Wireless statement is available at:
Some customers had earlier complained that they were having 3G service problems, while others said their 4G service was being restored on Thursday morning. One person complained about the lack of a public announcement.
"At least acknowledge there is a problem, do you really expect your paying customers to not notice??" one person wrote on Verizon's online message board.
Verizon Wireless spokesman Thomas Pica told Reuters that the company does not plan to compensate its customers who had experienced service problems.
Earlier this month the company, which has long boasted that its service is "most reliable," faced two data service problems.
On December 8 some Verizon customers were unable to access the Internet on their wireless devices for about 24 hours. The company had to fix another problem on December 21.
Verizon Wireless is a venture of Verizon Communications and Vodafone Group Plc.
(Reporting by Sinead Carew and Sakthi Prasad; Editing by Dave Zimmerman, Matthew Lewis, Steve Orlofsky and Ed Lane)
Posted 30 December 2011 - 03:36 AM
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Posted 30 December 2011 - 10:25 AM
When someone annoys u, it takes 42 muscles in ur face 2 frown. BUT, it only takes 4 muscles 2 extend ur arm & b!tch-slap that mother@*?!&! upside the head!!
Posted 30 December 2011 - 08:27 PM
The biggest U.S. wireless operator retracted its decision on Friday, just a day after it announced the fee for one-time payments, which was to have begun January 15.
The consumer victory comes after Bank of America recently decided against a new $5 monthly fee for debit card users after consumers and lawmakers protested the charge.
"There is power in numbers and in the end, the customer is always right," one person said on the Verizon Wireless online forum. "How can any corporation expect to keep business by doing that? It's pure greed just like with Bank of America."
Verizon said it listened to its customers and made the decision based on customer input after many complained and some threatened to leave the service if the fee was instituted.
A spokesman said that the company had just wanted to encourage consumers to pay their bills via different methods such as autopay, where they give Verizon permission to charge their credit card or bank account automatically each month.
Verizon Wireless is a venture of Verizon Communications Inc and Vodafone Group Plc.
The quick turn-around came after little more than a day of complaints, but not before the U.S. Federal Communications Commission said it was "concerned" about the fee and that it was looking into it.
"On behalf of American consumers, we're concerned about Verizon's actions and are looking into the matter," an official for the FCC said earlier on Friday.
The prospect of a $2 fee created a flurry of online activity and one consumer organization, Change.org, said 95,000 people joined a campaign on its website urging Verizon to drop the fee.
"The era of corporations walking roughshod over consumers without consequence is officially over," Ben Rattray, chief executive of Change.org, said in a statement.
Verizon Wireless customers told the company, often in colorful language, that they would not put up with the fee.
"If this fee goes through, I will be taking my business elsewhere!!!" one person said on the Verizon Wireless website.
Another said "Victory is ours!" after the about-face.
The turnaround comes after another high-profile reversal of course earlier this year by video rental service Netflix Inc in the face of customer disgust.
In October it canceled plans to split its DVD rental service from its online streaming service. The move would have forced customers of both streaming and DVD options to visit different websites and maintain different accounts for each subscription.
The Verizon Wireless incident served to highlight fee practices elsewhere in the communications industry. Rivals AT&T Inc and Sprint Nextel said on Friday that they charge some customers $5 for bill payments, revising their comments from the day before.
AT&T and Comcast Corp say that they charge some customers who look for personal assistance in paying their bills but that they do not charge for online payments. Sprint said it charges customers with bad credit if they refuse to enroll for auto pay.
The Sprint and AT&T fees are even higher than Verizon's proposed levy at $5 per transaction. Comcast's payment fee, which is only levied in some states, is $5.99.
The FCC did not comment on whether it would look into other companies' fee policies for bill payment.
(Reporting By Sinead Carew; Additional reporting by Lisa Richwine in Los Angeles; Editing by Tim Dobbyn)
Posted 06 January 2012 - 06:55 PM
People don't understand that it takes money to provide service. everyone wants things for free. I have no problem with them charging a fee if you want to pay over the phone since they are paying somebody to take that payment. the online however i completely disagree with, if somebody is trying to pay their bill and doing it themselves via a website its actually saving Verizon time. since they don't have to get a check in the mail and deposit it etc etc. i'd be ok with them charging a fee for people mailing in payment too honestly. but to charge someone to make a payment online is stupid. the idea was made os that people sign up fo the auto pay and verizon gets paid immediatly and doens't have to worry about late payments but it punishes those who do pay ontime but don't want it automatically taken from their account