Verizon Wanted To Charge $3.50 To Pay Your Bill... Just Kidding

from the for-now... dept

Last week, Verizon got some attention for plans to charge customers $3.50 to pay their bill if they paid by credit card or debit card. From an industry that specializes in ridiculous made-up fees, even this seemed beyond ridiculous. Given the consumer outcry about this, days later, Verizon decided it was just kidding about the charge, and that "this charge will not take place as scheduled." Of course, that sounds like it's just waiting for another chance to introduce it when people aren't paying as much attention.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 19th, 2010 @ 11:46am

    If I'm not mistaken in most states there are consumer protection regarding charging more for a credit card payment. Most companies can however can provide a discount for cash payments but they can not advertise the cash discount price as the official price.

    We're considering action against my wife's university due to their policy of charging 3% more for CC payment. I imagine they're collecting millions in "fees" and I'd also bet their discount rate isn't 3%, it's more likely sub 2%. We just haven't had time yet to contact consumer affairs and the state AG.

     

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  2.  
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    A Dan (profile), Oct 19th, 2010 @ 11:50am

    Simple

    This is easy. They'll offer a $3.50 discount to people who sign up for automatic billing. Then a few months later they'll raise all their rates by $4. That way, everybody's a winner!

    Note: Article doesn't apply to mobile phones. Don't be confused; they were only going to do this to their landline, DSL, and FiOS customers.

     

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  3.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 19th, 2010 @ 11:54am

    There are fees specifically for accepting credit cards that don't apply to e.g. e-checks. My university refuses to accept Visa because there's an extra fee for them that they can't pass on to the card owner; they would have to charge all users equally for the Visa fees, which is unfair.

    Of course, if they're covering the CC fees they should also lower the prices for people who pay in other ways. This way they're just getting more profits.

     

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  4.  
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    Chronno S. Trigger (profile), Oct 19th, 2010 @ 11:58am

    They were kidding about kidding

    I just payed my bill not 30min ago, they charge the $3.50.

     

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  5.  
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    Gabriel Tane (profile), Oct 19th, 2010 @ 12:02pm

    The big question

    Are they sure that's $3.50 per transaction... not $0.035 or $350.00? Then again, those are all the same numbers to VZ.

     

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  6.  
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    Dark Helmet (profile), Oct 19th, 2010 @ 12:03pm

    Re: They were kidding about kidding

    Well, I can check as a Verizon customer as well if there's still ambiguity over whether they're charging this or not....

     

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  7.  
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    David (profile), Oct 19th, 2010 @ 12:08pm

    Actually, my power company already does this

    I live in FL, and FPL does this. They use a 3rd party processing service (Western Union Speedpay), and Western Union charges $3.25 to make a payment (with a $400 limit, if you want to pay more, you have to break it up). There are alternatives of course, you can pay by giving them your bank info, or by cash in person, or check/money order by mail...

    Sucks, but beats having to do one of those with the waste of time, etc...

     

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  8.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 19th, 2010 @ 12:10pm

    This is new?

    SWEPCO (electric) - $2.50 charge
    Our City Water - 10% of bill

    I'm used to it by now. I think I plunk down at least $20 a month in these 'fees to pay my bill'.

     

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  9.  
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    Chronno S. Trigger (profile), Oct 19th, 2010 @ 12:13pm

    Re: Re: They were kidding about kidding

    There was no ambiguity in the message; "Your account will be charged [amount payed] plus a three dollar and fifty cent processing fee."

     

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  10.  
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    Hephaestus (profile), Oct 19th, 2010 @ 12:17pm

    They lost one fee and subsitute another ... how typical ..

    This is probably because they need to make up for the $1.99 they are no longer making on cell phone data charges ...

     

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  11.  
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    NBurns (profile), Oct 19th, 2010 @ 12:19pm

    Re: Re: Re: They were kidding about kidding

    If you're paying by phone, that would explain it. Verizon allows you to pay your bill through an automated phone service which they don't operate, and that service adds a $3.50 processing fee.

    Among many shady quirks of this setup is the fact that Verizon claims you can pay your bill 24/7 by phone, which is technically true. However, you need to know your balance owed when you call (or are transferred to) the phone bill paying service, because that service doesn't know your account balance.

     

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  12.  
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    Overcast (profile), Oct 19th, 2010 @ 12:37pm

    Duke Energy among others does this as well.

    If you want to pay be credit card, you have to pony up another $3.50 or $4.50 (I forget, I won't do that).

     

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  13.  
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    Gabriel Tane (profile), Oct 19th, 2010 @ 12:41pm

    Re: Actually, my power company already does this

    I haven't tried to pay my JEA bill via credit card since moving to Jacksonville, but I do remember the FPL.

    My rent is even worse. If I pay that over the phone (the only way to pay credit card... debit can be paid on the website) they charge over $25 'convenience' fee. And, incidently, they must use a customer-facing input system because they couldn't complete the transaction without my CID off the back.

     

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  14.  
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    Me, Oct 19th, 2010 @ 12:43pm

    Malware?

    Chrome thinks you are hosting malware - got these two notices trying to see this page:

    Warning: Visiting this site may harm your computer!
    The website at www.techdirt.com contains elements from the site 83.69.226.221, which appears to host malware – software that can hurt your computer or otherwise operate without your consent. Just visiting a site that contains malware can infect your computer.
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    Learn more about how to protect yourself from harmful software online.

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    Learn more about how to protect yourself from harmful software online.

     

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  15.  
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    Jimr (profile), Oct 19th, 2010 @ 12:44pm

    I had to speak up on my last bill there was a small fee for checking my voice mail. Did not matter if I did from a land line or from my cell phone.
    It took the call rep and their managers about 15 minutes to decide to credit my account to nearly $20 in voice mail checking fees. BTW: My account does clearly state that checking my voice mail is free from my cell phone.

     

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  16.  
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    Chuck Norris' Enemy (deceased) (profile), Oct 19th, 2010 @ 12:52pm

    Real reason

    These fees are basically there to the advantage of the credit card companies. For the most part you can get a card that gives you 1%-5% in points back on all purchases for whatever (miles, cash, etc.) I have found that generally 100 points is equal to $1 or 1%. If you just want to pay everything with your credit card because you get the rewards you may actually be losing (or at least a near wash) when they charge the fee. The fee discourages credit card use (if people are penny pinching) but some pay up. I am sure the actual transaction cost is not $3.50 so the company gets to skim the overage. But I can mail in a check for no fee. I am sure the cost of processing a check is much more than the cost of charging my credit card.

     

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  17.  
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    interval, Oct 19th, 2010 @ 1:09pm

    Meh

    Just another reason why going with a month-to-month (for lack of a better term) phone (I use MetroPCS, Boost Mobile is another) seems like the best of all worlds.

     

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  18.  
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    Thomas (profile), Oct 19th, 2010 @ 1:13pm

    They will probably..

    just add yet another fee on the bills instead. After all, they really need the money for the executive bonuses.

     

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  19.  
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    Mike Masnick (profile), Oct 19th, 2010 @ 2:09pm

    Re: Malware?

    Chrome thinks you are hosting malware - got these two notices trying to see this page:


    Yes, we've been looking into these claims. In the future, please use the contact us link above to send in such reports (or alert us via Twitter), so as not to post off-topic comments on a thread.

     

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  20.  
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    robphelan (profile), Oct 19th, 2010 @ 2:17pm

    reminds me of my GEICO car insurance payments..

    Can't afford to pay the entire 12 month policy at once? That's OK, we'll split it up monthly and charge you a fee for that.

     

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  21.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 19th, 2010 @ 2:20pm

    The govt. doesn't regulate credit card surcharges but the credit card companies don't like it. A lot of gas stations will try to charge different prices, but if the credit card company finds out they will send a warning letter to the store telling them to cut it out or they will pull the account.

    I guess today the stores have more power in this struggle because I see it in quite a few places. Guess the stores just said "fine, pull the account"

     

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  22.  
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    Danny, Oct 19th, 2010 @ 2:28pm

    Re: Re: Re: They were kidding about kidding

    Yeah I get the same thing if I make my student loan payments over the phone. Even though in my case I'm talking to an actual person and that actual person adds a $10 fee for it.

     

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  23.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 19th, 2010 @ 2:31pm

    I'm almost ready to cancel my Verizon phone as it is over mysterious fees and charges. This would be the straw.

     

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  24.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 20th, 2010 @ 2:31am

    You guys in the US really do things in a odd fashion. In the UK, paying by card (any) gets you a reduction on your bill, not an increase.

    What payment method do they want you to use? Cheques?

    Come join the 21st Century.

     

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  25.  
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    rwahrens (profile), Oct 20th, 2010 @ 5:20am

    not a surprise

    Sears does this too, if you want to pay by phone. Online is Ok, but to pay by phone is an additional $14.

    FOURTEEN frickin' dollars!

    That's outrageous in anybody's book.

     

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  26.  
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    DanVan (profile), Oct 22nd, 2010 @ 9:04am

    To think that people are now charging customers as they try to PAY their bill....just completely shocks me and should NOT be allowed...period

    Enough of this nickle-and-dime crap

     

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  27.  
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    David Irwin, Oct 24th, 2010 @ 7:25pm

    130 1/2 Garhart Lane

    That's nothing...Harley Davidson, in their infinite inability to give a hoot about anything, charges $6 to pay through Direct Pay with a credit/debit card or by checking account withdrawal. They won't even answer a complaint form request for some type of understanding why they do this. One would think that by saving them money through not having to send out a paper bill, they might be thankful. Instead, they punish you for their convenience.

    In return for this injustice, I make them send me a paper bill anyhoo. Phooey on them...and their stinkin' fees!

     

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  28.  
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    Kay Brown, Dec 17th, 2011 @ 1:39pm

    In Billings, Mt verizon charges 3$ to pay your bill in cash. Looking for a new company anyone?

     

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  29.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 22nd, 2012 @ 4:22am

     

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