Chalk up another instance of clueless corporate behavior.
Verizon thought they'd gather some green by charging online bill paying customers a $2 fee for one time payments. Those who have their bills paid through autopay - automatic deductions from a bank account - wouldn't be affected.
But at a time when money is short and there is great economic uncertainty, many people wanted the flexibility of being able to pay online whenever they could afford to - not a set date by which the company charged your bank account. Hence, rather than scheduling payments ahead of time, customers opted for the "one time payment option."
The ensuing uproar has caused Verizon to back off the plan.
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.
There was a time in the not too distant past when Verizon or Bank of America customers would have grumbled about the fee but paid it anyway. Not so anymore. Consumers are sensitive to corporate greed after the bail outs and takeovers of the last few years. They have no patience with companies that seek to take advantage of them.