9 On Your Side Consumer Alert
The people have spoken, Verizon backs off
After enough public outcry, Verizon decides not to charge customers $2 fee.
Reporter: Tammy Vo
TUCSON (KGUN9-TV) - Sometimes it seems that all the big corporations want to charge their customers fees. Verizon is now on that list after it announced earlier this week that customers who want to make a single payment for their cell phone bill would be charged a $2 per month fee to make up for fees that Verizon incurs. It sparked outrage.
"I don't like it. I think its stupid" said Larry Huff as we walked into an East Broadway Verizon store on Friday.
"I don't think its fair" said Verizon customer Mike Sharp.
Industry experts suspect that the fee would cover transaction fees charged by the big banks. But the American Bankers Association was confused telling KGUN 9 that "Credit card interchange fees, which typically range from 1% to 3% of the total purchase price, haven’t changed"... and that they actually fell this year.
On Facebook and elsewhere online, Verizon customers voiced their opposition. Some vowed not to renew their contracts. The Federal Communications Commission also decided to launch an investigation. Then on Friday afternoon, Verizon changed their minds and released a statement on their website.
“At Verizon, we take great care to listen to our customers. 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” wrote Dan Mead, Verizon President and CEO.
This isn't the first time public outrage has forced a big company to rethink a decision. Recently, Bank of America wanted to charge a $5 per month debit card usage fee. Months ago, they wanted to implement those costly overdraft fees. They, and other banks backed off quickly after enough public outcry.
Earlier this year, KV Pharmaceutical increased the price of Makena, the drug that pregnant moms use to prevent premature labor. The drug was originally available for $8 per dose and went up to $1,500 per dose overnight. After national outrage, the price was dropped.