Verizon customers fought back after the communications enterprise announced that starting Jan. 15, they will begin charging a $2 fee for one-time telephone and online bill payments.
The announcement came on Thursday, the same day Verizon released a statement apologizing to 4GLTE customers for poor 3G Network connection. In an email sent to Reuters, Verizon Wireless spokesperson Thomas Pica stated the reasons behind the new $2 fee:
“The fee is designed to address cost 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…”
However, some were arguing that customers who are just trying to save paper by making the payments via phone or online are being punished. Other websites like Cnet.com joined in on the criticism by saying the fee, “made little sense.”
One website that made the biggest impact was Change.org, an online community that starts and supports campaigns around the world. Verizon petition creator, Molly Katchpole from Wash., D.C., began the campaign Dec. 30 and by the end of the day had reached 40,000 signatures.
The petition stated, “It’s not just about the money (though if you’re like me, you don’t have the extra cash to be sending to a giant phone company in order to pay your own bills). It’s that Verizon thinks it can do anything to its customers, and that we’re powerless to stop it.”
That same day the Federal Communications Commission, which regulates telecommunications in the U.S., reported they were starting an investigation into Verizon’s $2 convenience fee. The FCC released a statement saying, “On behalf of American consumers, we’re concerned about Verizon’s actions and are looking into the matter.”
With such a large backlash from customers, critics and the FCC, Verizon issued a statement on Dec. 30 announcing they will not institute a single payment fee.
Dan Mead, president and chief executive officer of Verizon Wireless, stated, “At Verizon, we take great care to listen to our customers. Based on their input, we believe the best path forward is to encourage customers to take advantage of the best and most efficient options, eliminating the need to institute the fee at the time.”
When Verizon apologized to their 4G LTE customers they said that being a pioneer of the network they were experiencing “growing pains.” However, it seems like those “growing pains” are likely to continue for the large cellular company.
Jordan Eggers has five years of writing experience and has written pieces for various print outlets and websites. Currently living abroad, she is working as a freelance writer and enjoys keeping up-to-date on everything new happening in technology.
Edited by Jennifer Russell