The Two-Way
6:55 am
Fri December 30, 2011

'Outrage' Over Verizon's Plan For $2 Payment Fee

There's been an "uproar on the Web," as The New York Times says this morning, over the plan by Verizon Wireless to charge $2 for some methods of paying your bill.

Indeed, a simple Twitter search of "Verizon" turns up words such as "backlash," "OUTRAGEOUS," and "Cancel your contract!" And there's the inevitable online petition.

As Eyder reported Thursday, Verizon plans to start charging the fee if you go online or call the company on the phone to make a one-time payment with a credit or debit card. What Verizon is trying to do is steer customers toward signing up to pay their bills via electronic checks, through automatic payment programs or the old-fashioned way — by dropping a check in the mail.

Forbes contributor Erika Morphy thinks this will be a "Bank of America moment" for Verizon. That is, it will be faced with so much criticism that it will have to reverse course — as Bank of America did when it tried to charge a $5 monthly fee if its customers used their debit cards to make some purchases.

Verizon calls it a "convenience fee" that "will help allow us to continue to support these single bill payment options in these channels and is designed to address costs incurred by us for only those customers who choose to make single bill payments in alternate payment channels (online, mobile, telephone)."

The company's plan comes as some customers are already upset about recent outages in its 4G network.

Copyright 2011 National Public Radio. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.