A leaked memo posted on Engadget reveals Verizon’s plan to start charging customers $2 for each one-time online payment or bill payment over the phone on January 15. Verizon confirms this ridiculous plan. And they’re calling it a “convenience fee.”
Remember the uproar when Bank of America tried to charge $5 for debit card purchases? Apparently, Verizon doesn’t. Ultimately, BofA had to dump the plan because of the backlash and other banks, taking a hint, decided to dump theirs as well.
Both Engadget and CNET suggest alternatives to charging a fee, such as stiffer late fee penalties and (gasp!) a reward for loyal customers who sign up for an automatic bill pay.
Charging people more when they’re recovering from holiday spending during a tough economic period is simply wrong-headed. It’s made even more so when telecom companies were among those on a “most-hated” list published just a couple of months ago. Folks on Twitter and on blogs are already complaining. Moreover, this is happening while service outages are a problem. Let’s see how long this lasts.