Verizon Wireless: Paying Online Is More Convenient, So Now You Have To Pay $2 To Do So [Updated]

from the say-what-now? dept

Phone companies are pretty notorious for their regular additions of all kinds of silly fees, and Verizon Wireless seems to be even more renowned than others for putting in place all sorts of crazy fees (and then denying those fees even exist... until they suddenly have to pay back $90 million in bogus charges). Its latest is that it's going to start charging a $2 "convenience fee" for those who pay their bills online or by the phone. The company claims it is doing so in order to provide you the "best wireless experience." At this point, you have to wonder if there are just some jokers at Verizon Wireless wondering just what they can get away with. Not that I'm a VZW customer, but perhaps some consumers could look into charging the company a reverse fee for "customer appreciation" in order to help the customer get the "best customer service experience."

Update... and backtrack. It's amazing. Does Verizon Wireless employ even semi-competent marketing people who can think through how these things happen?


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
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    :Lobo Santo (profile), Dec 30th, 2011 @ 12:23pm

    Paper!

    Every time some company I do business with decides to pull some BS like this, I stop paying online or by phone and mail them (ye aulde) money order.

    Which, of course, ends up costing them more time and money having somebody process the paper money order than it would have taken by me paying online.

    Their choice--carrot & stick and all that...

     

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  2.  
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    David Sanger (profile), Dec 30th, 2011 @ 12:24pm

    well I'll just charge them $3 for the privilege of receiving my payment

     

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  3.  
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    Trails (profile), Dec 30th, 2011 @ 12:25pm

    Re: Paper!

    Seriously. Verizon Customers should start a campaign to mail in cheques.

    They'll be begging to have people go back online soon enough.

     

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  4.  
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    Rikuo (profile), Dec 30th, 2011 @ 12:26pm

    How can the $2 be going toward "the best wireless experience"? That's what your internet bill is for!
    How else can they justify the charge? Processing fees? The point of paying online is that its supposed to be more or less automated and fast.

     

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  5.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 30th, 2011 @ 12:29pm

    Is the lesson that Americans need to do prepaid only?

     

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  6.  
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    Amy Alkon, Dec 30th, 2011 @ 12:30pm

    One reason to be grateful for crappy ATT

    If I were a Verizon wireless customer, I'd be tempted to start a movement to have all other Verizon wireless customers pay in pennies, mailed in, registered mail. If they require this for my Verizon home phone, I'm switching -- to another scumbag company that doesn't require it (re: scumbag -- I'm a realist).

     

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  7.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 30th, 2011 @ 12:39pm

    and no you don't, they have already withdrawn the fee.

    You guys are so yesterday!

     

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  8.  
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    Seth (profile), Dec 30th, 2011 @ 12:46pm

    Auto Payment

    The fee doesn't apply if you are on auto pay. This is what they want. Sure, they don't mind collecting an extra $2 from everyone, but what they really want is for everyone to be setup on auto pay so they can get their money faster and automatically.

    I don't agree with the fee, but I understand the reasoning behind it.

     

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  9.  
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    Philip (profile), Dec 30th, 2011 @ 12:47pm

    They backed down.

     

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  10.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 30th, 2011 @ 12:48pm

    Debunked already

    This story has already been debunked - I don't know if they've dropped the fee yet as someone mentioned already, but the $2 fee only applied when paying with credit card or debit card rather than e-check.

     

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  11.  
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    :Lobo Santo (profile), Dec 30th, 2011 @ 12:54pm

    Re: Debunked already

    "Debunked" would imply it was never true...

     

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  12.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 30th, 2011 @ 12:55pm

    Where I live, once cell phone provider bought out it's competition. So now they want to charge $4 to accept payment in cash, check, or money order.

    The idea is they want in your checking account with automatic deduction. Screw them. First time there is an error in billing and you get charged by mistake then the usual is that when it is finally straightened out, companies want instead of sending you a refund, they want to take it out against future charges.

    I dropped them like a hot potato and now have another provider.

     

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  13.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 30th, 2011 @ 12:55pm

    I love how verizon said it wasn't going to back down because of mass outcry over this fee. The FCC says it's going to start looking into this and 2 hours later Verizon withdraws the fee. Hilarious!

     

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  14.  
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    Gwiz (profile), Dec 30th, 2011 @ 1:01pm

    Re: Auto Payment

    The fee doesn't apply if you are on auto pay. This is what they want. Sure, they don't mind collecting an extra $2 from everyone, but what they really want is for everyone to be setup on auto pay so they can get their money faster and automatically.

    I heard a report about this yesterday and that is exactly what they are trying to do.

    Personally, I stay away from automated scheduled payments. My pay is bi-weekly and most automated pay systems are monthly and I can tell you from personal experience that a couple of days difference between the two can quickly add up hundreds of dollars in "insufficient funds" charges from the banks.

     

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  15.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 30th, 2011 @ 1:02pm

    ahhh yes

    Corporate America once again trying to rape American citizens. I never like verizon, now i got a reason.

     

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  16.  
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    Josh in CharlotteNC (profile), Dec 30th, 2011 @ 1:02pm

    Re: Paper!

    and mail them (ye aulde) money order.

    You forgot the part of them charging to receive paper bills in the mail.

     

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  17.  
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    Gwiz (profile), Dec 30th, 2011 @ 1:08pm

    Re:

    So now they want to charge $4 to accept payment in cash, check, or money order.

    $4 to accept cash as payment? WTF?

    Next we'll see companies only accepting cash with 3 forms of ID, 2 valid credit cards and notarized notes from your mother and employer. Geesh.

     

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  18.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 30th, 2011 @ 1:11pm

    Re:

    I know there are likely other alternatives, but this is why I'm still buying stamps and writing checks.

    The fewer fingers in my money pie the bett...okay, that came out wrong...

     

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  19.  
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    Jeffrey Nonken (profile), Dec 30th, 2011 @ 1:12pm

    Re:

    I don't like ANY of the carriers. Used to like Cingular, now they're part of AT&T. Used to like T-Mobile, but their customer service has suffered over the last couple years, they broke a promise to my wife and when I took over the account they signed me up for a less favorable (read: more expensive with fewer features) plan. And no way to get the same plan, even paying more money.

    "Dear loyal customer: your business is important to us, so we're going to go out of our way to make sure you hate our guts. Love, T-Mobile."

    Maybe I should just forget having a phone at all.

     

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  20.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 30th, 2011 @ 1:24pm

    Re: Debunked already - HUH?

    Debunked? In what way? The fee was going to be imposed on certain payment types. How is that debunked Bunky?

     

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  21.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 30th, 2011 @ 1:26pm

    They have supposedly backed down now

    http://www.engadget.com/2011/12/30/verizon-backs-down-from-convenience-fee-values-your-two-cents/

    Looks like between the public outcry and the FCC promising to investigate VZW has decided to find another way to rake us over the coals....

     

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  22.  
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    DH's Love Child (profile), Dec 30th, 2011 @ 1:30pm

    Re: They have supposedly backed down now

    My guess is that it has lees to do with the public outcry and more to do with the FCC.

     

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  23.  
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    abc gum, Dec 30th, 2011 @ 1:31pm

    Cancel service - can you bill me now?
    Yikes, they do - charge back!

     

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  24.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 30th, 2011 @ 1:41pm

    Way to post a story that is over a day old and just a mere hour or two before they cancel the fees.

     

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  25.  
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    Jeon, Dec 30th, 2011 @ 1:41pm

    I use tracfone and an iPod touch for my smartphone needs. I should be able to DCA
    under $5 per month in 2012.

     

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  26.  
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    Joe Publius (profile), Dec 30th, 2011 @ 1:49pm

    Re: Re: Paper!

    Checks are too good for 'em!

    Quarter rolls in ziptop bags.

     

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  27.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 30th, 2011 @ 1:53pm

    Re:

    On time!! It's a convenience after all.

     

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  28.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 30th, 2011 @ 1:55pm

    Re: One reason to be grateful for crappy ATT

    I think it's illegal to deliver money through the mail. Probably because money order lobbyists protested, who knows.

     

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  29.  
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    Hephaestus (profile), Dec 30th, 2011 @ 2:01pm

    Re: Re: One reason to be grateful for crappy ATT

    Damn, My granny is going to jail next Christmas.

     

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  30.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 30th, 2011 @ 2:02pm

    Re: Re: One reason to be grateful for crappy ATT

    (and banks, they want to charge you for checks).

     

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  31.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 30th, 2011 @ 2:03pm

    Re: Re: Re: One reason to be grateful for crappy ATT

    Your granny is a felon, she's killing the money order and bank industry!!!

     

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  32.  
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    Mr bad example (profile), Dec 30th, 2011 @ 2:22pm

    Shysters

    This would be the same company that not only sold me a phone on a pre-paid wireless plan that had a phone number recycled from someone who had stopped using the number less than a month earlier, but says it's not their fault when the bill collectors, mislead one-night stands, co-workers and relatives of the former number user continue to call my phone and send text messages to him. And no surprise-they refuse to refund the cost of those calls as well, despite the fact that the bill collectors, in particular, call three to four times a month from different locations around the US.
    Not only that, but every so often, when I make a payment through my bank account, I'll notice on my next statement from the bank that there's a second $1 charge from Verizon at the same time as my payment, but not only does Verizon not know what the payment was for, they deny that the transaction even took place, even though the account name, routing number and other info is the exact match, according to the bank.
    Now while a $1 charge may not seem like much, it strikes me that if they do this on as wide a scale as Verizon is capable of, it generates several millions of dollars every time they do it...all illegal profits.
    So this latest announcement doesn't surprise me-but I am wondering when the Justice Department is going to open a RICO investigation against the executives in charge of Verizon, but I forgot-they're too busy denying dying people the right to use medical marijuana.

     

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  33.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Anonymous Coward, Dec 30th, 2011 @ 3:13pm

    Quality of Cash

    "This note is legal tender for all debts, public and private"

    That's what is says on the face of the one dollar bill I am looking at. How the hell do they get off charging a fee for the use of these notes? The same thing is printed on all US currency, yet some places have the gall to claim they do not accept $50 or $100 dollar bills? I know there is an issue with counterfeiting, but are they too lazy to learn how to check the bills? And I believe I heard that this attitude is OK. Not to me.

    I see the above and the Verizon thing, and other like it as a fraud upon the people.

     

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  34.  
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    Trails (profile), Dec 30th, 2011 @ 3:26pm

    Re:

    You mean "way to post a story that was accurate at time of posting"? Yeah, wow, Mike really dropped the ball...

     

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  35.  
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    tsavory (profile), Dec 30th, 2011 @ 3:29pm

    Re:

    Well where the hell is your post that was faster?
    Just got to LOVE the AC's that do everything they can to discredit or belittle Mike.
    If they hate him so damn much why are they here day in and day out?

    \Don't like what someone writes DON'T READ IT

    I hope that this will help those of you who hate what TechDirt has to say but find it hard not to come back and belittle the writers and other grateful users.

    It is simple go to C:\Windows\System32\drivers\etc in that location there is a file called hosts right click it click the edit and at the very bottom of that put
    127.0.0.1 techdirt.com
    127.0.0.1 www.techdirt.com
    and save
    you will never have to read another article from techdirt again.

     

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  36.  
    icon
    btrussell (profile), Dec 30th, 2011 @ 3:48pm

    Re: Quality of Cash

    In Canada, if I offer cash and they refuse to accept it, I assume it is free for me to take.

    I called my MPs' office and told them to expect a call from me when/if I was accused of stealing. I quoted a "fiat money" paragraph from an economics textbook I had. They agreed with me.

     

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  37.  
    identicon
    ike, Dec 30th, 2011 @ 4:13pm

    Ontario has similar convenience fees

    Mall kiosks for services offered by the Canadian province of Ontario (e.g. renewing license plate registration) have a similar service fee. Sure, there are fees associated with running the kiosk, but they have to be less than the cost of supporting the overworked staffers at the service centres. If the kiosks exist to lessen the load on the service centres, it makes no sense to charge extra to use them!

     

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  38.  
    identicon
    ike, Dec 30th, 2011 @ 4:19pm

    Re:

    So you'e saying that the Techdirt crowd got Verizon to backtrack in a mere hour or two! Awesome!!!!

    ;)

     

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  39.  
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    TtfnJohn (profile), Dec 30th, 2011 @ 5:17pm

    Re: Shysters

    Evidently they don't deny recreational marjuana to Verizon execs or marketers, though.

    This happens to be the same Verizon that holds the controlling interest in Canadian telco Telus who, not so long ago, gave an employee a cell with a number recently belonging to someone who sold drugs out of his home and then delivered them. Didn't take long for this guy to figure that out but THEN the wireless arm of Telus decided it wanted to charge the employee for the change of number on the cell.

    Couple of grievance meetings later and the very real threat of going public with this cockup and they changed the number for free.

    There's the book on how to do things and then there's intelligence. At Verizon/Telus there is no intersection point between the two at the executive, marketing or billing levels.

     

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  40.  
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    TtfnJohn (profile), Dec 30th, 2011 @ 5:29pm

    Re: Ontario has similar convenience fees

    Is this like the HST in Ontario where you guys got stuck with it and we out here in BC had a small revolution over it and told them to stuff it?

    They tried that out here a couple of decades ago so people refused to pay the surcharge or went home, came back and counted out the entire fee plus surcharge in pennies. Lasted a couple of weeks before the surcharge was withdrawn.

    The surcharge was dropped. OK, we're kinda loopy out here in Lotus Land but we can also be cranky. ;)

     

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  41.  
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    MikeC (profile), Dec 30th, 2011 @ 6:34pm

    Re:

    They must all be on 3g -- so 12 seconds ago....

     

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  42.  
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    MikeVx (profile), Dec 30th, 2011 @ 7:24pm

    Cingular and AT&T

    Actually, Cingular IS AT&T now. The old AT&T ceased to exist a while back. SBC bought the assets, including the name, and instead of taking the opportunity to bury it once and for all, they adopted the name and have been trying (and succeeding quite well) to live down to the name.

     

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  43.  
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    Tom Landry (profile), Dec 30th, 2011 @ 8:42pm

    I get a kick out of how phone snobs denigrate pre-paid phone users as being "ghetto" or "white trash" but at least we aren't stuck in a 2 year contract while paying less overall for the same level of service. On top of that you are rewarded with this kind of rape they are allowed to perform on you at will.

    I'll keep my Virgin Mobile and Metro PCS, thank you very much.

     

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  44.  
    identicon
    btr1701, Dec 31st, 2011 @ 2:44am

    Re: Re: One reason to be grateful for crappy ATT

    > I think it's illegal to deliver money through the mail.

    No, it's not.

     

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  45.  
    identicon
    btr1701, Dec 31st, 2011 @ 2:46am

    Re: Re: Debunked already - HUH?

    Yeah, seems like the story was fully bunked. No debunking here.

     

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  46.  
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    btrussell (profile), Dec 31st, 2011 @ 2:49am

    Re: Re: Ontario has similar convenience fees

    In Ontario, they don't have to accept pennies for a payment.

    Not sure what the cut-off is, $1,5,10,20 but they can ask you to go to the bank to exchange the pennies.

     

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  47.  
    identicon
    btr1701, Dec 31st, 2011 @ 2:56am

    Re: Quality of Cash

    > "This note is legal tender for all debts, public and private"

    That doesn't mean a business is legally required to accept cash. It means they're legally required to accept dollars.

    Your local McDonalds, for example, can't charge you 5 Euros for a Big Mac and Home Depot can't require payment for that lumber in Yen. They have to accept dollars. However, they're free to accept those dollars in any form they choose. It can be cash only, credit only, checks, or any combination of payment methods.

    So yes, they can decline to accept cash altogether or say they won't accept $50 bills or whatever. Perfectly legal.

     

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  48.  
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    btrussell (profile), Dec 31st, 2011 @ 7:16am

    Re: Re: Quality of Cash

    "So yes, they can decline to accept cash altogether or say they won't accept $50 bills or whatever. Perfectly legal."

    Perfectly illegal!

    "People are willing to accept paper money in exchange for valuable goods and services because other people are willing to accept it from them in exchange for goods and services. The declaration in law that our currency is legal tender has helped to increase its general acceptability. This is so because declaring money to be legal tender means that if it is offered in payment of a debt, it must be accepted; otherwise, the debt is considered to be legally discharged. Fiat money is legal tender."
    Macroeconomics 5th edition
    Elijah M. James

    2nd bolding set is mine.

    Not the same paragraph I quoted to my MPP, but similar.

     

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  49.  
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    Bill (profile), Dec 31st, 2011 @ 7:21am

    Re: Re:

    Cingular bought AT&T wireless in 2004 and it went down hill from there.

     

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  50.  
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    btrussell (profile), Dec 31st, 2011 @ 7:22am

    Re: Re: Re: Quality of Cash

    P.S. Counterfeit money is not my problem. It is not the stores problem, nor is it the banks problem. It is the governments problem. Stores and banks will still get their money.

     

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  51.  
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    btrussell (profile), Dec 31st, 2011 @ 7:24am

    Re: Re: Re: Quality of Cash

    Page 515.

     

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  52.  
    identicon
    alternatives(), Jan 1st, 2012 @ 7:43am

    Re: Re: Debunked already - HUH?

    The debunking is about the understanding of the English language.

    The original poster either does not understand the meaning of debunk or is a liar.

     

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  53.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 1st, 2012 @ 4:11pm

    Re:

    and you are so last year

     

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  54.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 2nd, 2012 @ 8:29am

    Re: Re: Quality of Cash

    They cannot decline cash as payment for a debt. They can, though, refuse to sell anything for cash.

    In other words, Verizon can't refuse cash as a payment for an amount you already owe them; but they could, say, refuse to sell you a new phone for cash. Once money is owed, cash has to be accepted; but prior to the transaction, a seller can decline to accept cash.

     

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  55.  
    identicon
    Invisible_Jester89, Jan 2nd, 2012 @ 3:10pm

    Oh, I don't know about jokers in Verizon's company, but I know this is such Insane Joker Logic that even the titular Batman villain can only look at this in astonishment and go, "What. The. F**k."

    On second thought, AT&T, despite how stupidly your Modem reset system works (why on earth do I need THREE DAMN SECURITY QUESTIONS to reset a modem, and if I get them wrong once or fail to answer correctly in 5 minutes I get locked out of the account and have to call you fools to fix it? I just want to set up a new wireless router, it's not the keys to the United States nuclear defense system!), you guys are not half as bad as the morons over at Verizon.

     

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  56.  
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    btr1701 (profile), Jan 3rd, 2012 @ 9:06pm

    Re: Re: Re: Quality of Cash

    > Perfectly illegal!
    > Macroeconomics 5th edition

    Your economics text book is wrong. Wouldn't be the first time, either.

    I'm a lawyer and a federal agent and I work specifically in financial crimes. I know what the US Code requires and what it does not.

    But don't take my word for it. Here's the US Treasury's official response:

    http://www.treasury.gov/resource-center/faqs/Currency/Pages/legal-tender.aspx

    The pertinent portion of law that applies to your question is the Coinage Act of 1965, specifically Section 31 U.S.C. 5103, entitled "Legal tender," which states: "United States coins and currency (including Federal reserve notes and circulating notes of Federal reserve banks and national banks) are legal tender for all debts, public charges, taxes, and dues."

    This statute means that all United States money as identified above are a valid and legal offer of payment for debts when tendered to a creditor. There is, however, no Federal statute mandating that a private business, a person or an organization must accept currency or coins as for payment for goods and/or services. Private businesses are free to develop their own policies on whether or not to accept cash unless there is a State law which says otherwise. For example, a bus line may prohibit payment of fares in pennies or dollar bills. In addition, movie theaters, convenience stores and gas stations may refuse to accept large denomination currency (usually notes above $20) as a matter of policy.

     

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  57.  
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    btrussell (profile), Jan 4th, 2012 @ 2:59am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Quality of Cash

    They don't have to accept cash, and you will know that going in. Their are golf courses here that only accept credit cards and is acceptable as you know that going in.

    Bus lines accept all denominations to purchase tokens/tickets. They also accept bills on the buses to insert into box, but you won't get any change.

    Most stores have no such policy. Either they accept cash or they do not. Without informing me first, you are stating that you don't trust the government to back the bills.

    For what reason can they refuse fifty dollar bills?
    Cash on hand? Too much business for that excuse to last more than 30 minutes.

    Counterfeit? Back to not trusting the government. If money is no good to a corporation, what good is it to me?

    In that case, I need to be paid in gold. Paper money is no good. Is this what the government wants?
    First they declare it is legal tender then they say a store can refuse it? Make up my mind. Which is it? Because if a store can refuse it, it is not legal tender and is not being backed by the government. Remove the writing from the bills.

    I trust the combination of plastic cards, computers and banks much less than I fear paper bills.

     

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  58.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 19th, 2012 @ 4:36pm

    Verizon - Fee the Beast

    Interesting that the VERIZON WIRELESS wants to charge a "convenience fee" for online payments - especially since VERIZON LANDLINE wants to charge an "inefficiency fee" to those who still mail in their checks. Time to start charging Verizon a "continuing customer" fee.

     

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  59.  
    identicon
    Richard, Mar 8th, 2012 @ 7:49am

    Paying Verizon Online

    Here is how you pay your Verizon bill online: You log in to your account on the Verizon or myverizon website, or through the link in the email they send to tell you how much your charges are for the month. You see a page showing the charges and a link to Pay. You click Pay and get a request to log in. You repeat this cycle six times, then drive to the mall and pay at the Verizon store on their terminal.
    I've done the above for the past three months. I did the above for the Verizon store manager. She then called someone who assured me that the onlime payment problem would be rsolved soon. I also requested to receive a paper bill in the mail so I could mail a check every month and not drive to the mall.
    After three months they have not repaired the online problem nor have they switched me to a paper bill.
    In six months my contract runs out. I will leave Verizon as soon as I can.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  60.  
    identicon
    glenn, Apr 23rd, 2012 @ 1:18am

    Hi,nice article.This post helps.

    More power to your site.:}

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  61.  
    identicon
    glenn, Apr 23rd, 2012 @ 1:19am

    Hi,nice article.This post helps.

    More power to your site.:}

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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