Verizon ditches $2 fee after customer uproar

Fri Dec 30, 2011 6:41pm EST
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By Sinead Carew

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Verizon Wireless has reversed its decision to charge a $2 fee for telephone and online bill payments, bowing to a storm of criticism from consumers and the U.S. communications regulator.

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.   Continued...