Tags: Verizon | fee | Customers

FCC to Probe Verizon's $2 ‘Convenience Fee’ as Customers Complain

Friday, 30 Dec 2011 02:08 PM

Verizon Wireless, the largest U.S. mobile carrier, will face a Federal Communications Commission probe into its $2 “convenience fee” for users who make single bill payments on a month-to-month basis online or by phone.

“On behalf of American consumers, we’re concerned about Verizon’s actions and are looking into the matter,” Neil Grace, an FCC spokesman, said in an e-mail. Grace didn’t give details on what steps the agency may take.

Customers began criticizing Verizon Wireless on Twitter and online-discussion forums yesterday after the Basking Ridge, New Jersey-based company disclosed the fee, with some setting up online petitions and calling for consumers to boycott the carrier. Verizon Wireless isn’t considering canceling the charge because it’s just one of many ways to pay your bill, including others that are month-to-month options, said Brenda Raney, a spokeswoman.

“Customers have a number of alternatives to pay their bill and not incur the convenience fee,” Raney said. “Paying the fee is an option, not an absolute.”

Verizon Wireless said it is adding the fee to address costs it incurs for processing such payments. The charge doesn’t apply to customers who enroll in automatic payment plans, use electronic checks, pay at a Verizon Wireless store, send in checks or pay through their online banking website.

Verizon Communications Inc., which co-owns the wireless business with Vodafone Group Plc, rose 0.4 percent to $40.19 at 2:31 p.m. New York time. The stock had advanced 12 percent this year before today.

Boosting Earnings

The charge goes into effect Jan. 15. Raney declined to disclose how many customers would have had to pay the fee in the previous billing cycle.

Last month, a consumer backlash led to Bank of America Corp. canceling a $5-per-month fee for debit card users.

Verizon Wireless is driving up profit at parent Verizon Communications as it gains users for Apple Inc.’s iPhone and Google Inc. Android devices, which let users browse the Web, watch video and stream music. Third-quarter net income at New York-based Verizon Communications doubled to $1.38 billion from $659 million a year earlier.

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Verizon Wireless, the largest U.S. mobile carrier, will face a Federal Communications Commission probe into its $2 convenience fee for users who make single bill payments on a month-to-month basis online or by phone. On behalf of American consumers, we re concerned...
Verizon,fee,Customers
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2011-08-30
Friday, 30 Dec 2011 02:08 PM
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