Another Corporate Giant Miscalculates

<p>One day after announcing a new $2 "convenience fee," Verizon reversed course today in the face of a torrent of public criticism and attention from the FCC. The fee would have been charged to customers who paid by phone or online. Verizon prefers that you give them access to your bank account.</p>

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Similar to fee-bedeviled airline passengers with little choice on many nonstop flights, or bank customers who do not want to spend hours untangling automated payments so they can switch institutions, Verizon Wireless customers have limited options because they are locked into multiyear contracts. And they apparently did not like being told that it would cost money to pay money to the company. </p>

<p>The consumer outcry may also reflect the national mood — and some companies’ misreading of it, according to some analysts. </p>

<p>“I just think people are sick of being nickeled and dimed by big companies,” said Edgar Dworsky, founder of ConsumerWorld.org. “And it’s just baffling to me why a company like Verizon Wireless or Bank of America doesn’t do market testing on something like this first. It doesn’t take a genius to figure out that there is going to be a backlash.”

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<p><a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2011/12/31/business/media/verizon-wireless-abandons-2-fee-after-consumer-outcry.html%5B/url%5D"&gt;http://www.nytimes.com/2011/12/31/business/media/verizon-wireless-abandons-2-fee-after-consumer-outcry.html&lt;/a&gt;&lt;/p>

<p>I was amazed that so soon after BofA got taken to the woodshed over their $5 monthly debit card fee Verizon went and did almost the exact same thing. </p>

<p>According to what I read, the fee was only to be charged for people who used their credit card to pay their bill. You could still pay by check or online banking with no fee. What a debacle!</p>

<p>I read about that - ridiculous. It reminds me of how some governmental bodies want to charge a 'convenience fee' to transact online versus snail mail when doing it online actually 'saves' them processing costs. In Verizon's case it sounds like they wanted to coerce as many people as possible into automatic deductions from their bank/credit accounts which probably tends to usually err on the side of the one doing the auto-deductions ala the way workout facilities try to operate.</p>

<p>I'm glad Verizon reversed their stupid decision so quickly. I hope they're smart enough to fire the dufuses who decided to make this move.</p>

<p>Watch out whenever the term 'convenience' is bandied about by a company - it usually means another 'convenient' excuse for them to get some of your money while offering nothing tangible in return.</p>

<p>I discovered today that my credit union (!) actually charges a $20 fee to 'reinstate' your 'dormant account' (if you've not made transactions in 12 months it apparently goes dormant and I only found out via mail when it did). Even though this account was free for us to open in the first place (we had a bunch of different accounts for different purposes at one time). </p>

<p>So I paid them a visit about these 'dormant' accounts-- and closed them. Interestingly enough, to do so, they had to 'reactivate them' to close them. They justify the fee of $20 because it requires them to 'reactivate them' or use. What does reactivation involve? A person higher than the teller walks over, types in a code into the screen. Thats it. </p>

<p>I didn't pay the $20- as normally it would come out of the account automatically and these were empty. If I wanted to use them again however to make a deposit, they'd have taken $20! So I closed them (and stupidly, I could open another 'free' account if I wanted to!).</p>