The recent history of consumer surcharges has been educational, at the very least, for those companies who have attempted to add them. Not all have paid attention to that experience despite, for example, Bank of America’s $5 debit card usage fee debacle. Now, we can add Verizon’s $2 convenience fee to the fee scrap heap. The strong consumer backlash, both in store and online, as well as a few well placed comments by Federal Communications Commission members, was enough to convince Verizon that forcing people to pay $2 more for the privilege of paying their bills is not a great way to improve customer relations.
Outrage and Outages
To its credit Verizon has been aggressive with the rollout of its new high speed wireless service, but there have recently been deployment bumps. The fee outrage comes at the same time as a series of Verizon network outages with its new 4G LTE network, down three times in the last month, despite assurance by the company that the problem was fixed.
One can understand that Verizon is eager to have its customers pay their bills and, perhaps (and it’s a stretch), its $2 fee announcement was just a ploy to get folks to pay via automatic deduction from their bank account or simply to be more timely with their payments. But, given those service interruptions and the ability to simply shut off a customer’s access to mobile service when they’re late paying, the $2 was doomed in the first place.
The outrage was not just limited to the technorati and the blogosphere. This alternate URL is from Fergus Falls, Minnesota, population 13,620. Midwesterners are known for being nice, but even their Verizon store had plenty of unhappy customers. Hopefully, they were nice about it.