Saturday, December 31, 2011

Making Them Blink

The year ended with a victory for our side. Sure, it was just a small victory, but it was still encouraging. A major corporation, Verizon, was forced to blink. Apparently the folks at Verizon decided to ignore what recently happened to Bank of America when it decided to impose a fee on debit card use. Verizon announced a similar fee for the one-time use of a credit or debit card to pay a bill and all hell broke lose.

Verizon Wireless announced on Friday, after one day of consumer backlash and interest from a federal regulator, that it has decided to scrap a $2 "convenience fee" for credit and debit payments made either online or by phone.

"At Verizon, we take great care to listen to our customers," said Dan Mead, Verizon Wireless' president and CEO, in a statement. "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 this time."
[Emphasis added]

At least it only took Verizon one day to go "Oops!" Maybe the BoA fiasco was suddenly recalled. Or maybe the "interest from a federal regulator" made someone a bit nervous. Me, I think having the issue go viral on the internet, alerting all sorts of customers to the latest corporate rip-off, was the determining factor.

Since the fee was announced Thursday, customers of the nation's largest wireless carrier have complained about the charge on Twitter, in Facebook groups and pages and Google+ too. The $2 charge is set to go into effect starting Jan. 15 for Verizon users not enrolled in automatic bill pay options who pay their bills online with a credit or debit card. ...

Molly Katchpole, a Washington activist and Verizon subscriber, started a petition at the online activism site calling for Verizon to scrap the $2 fee.

"Verizon just announced a new $2 fee for paying your bills online. Really. Even though paying via internet is fully automated," Katchpole's petition reads. "It's not just about the money (though if you're like me, you don't have 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. (Spoiler alert: We're not.)"
[Emphasis added]


That's the spirit. And I hope it's as contagious as the damned flu. It's the only way I can see 2012 being any better than 2011.



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