Verizon abandons $2 ‘convenience fee’ after consumer backlash

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LOS ANGELES — Verizon Wireless announced on Friday,
after one day of consumer backlash and interest from a federal
regulator, that it has decided to scrap a $2 “convenience fee” for some
online credit and debit payments.

“At Verizon, we take great care to listen to our
customers,” said Dan Mead, Verizon Wireless’ president and CEO, in a
statement. “Based on their input, we believe the best path forward is to
encourage customers to take advantage of the best and most efficient
options, eliminating the need to institute the fee at this time.”

The decision to not implement the controversial fee
came down “in response to customer feedback about the plan, which was
designed to improve the efficiency of those transactions,” Verizon said
in the statement.

The $2 fee was supposed to go into effect on Jan. 15
and be charged to customers each time they paid their bills with a
credit or debit card — unless that customer was enrolled in automatic
bill-paying options that can charge credit and debit cards or withdraw
money directly from bank accounts.

The decision also came after the Federal
Communications Commission said on Friday that it would look into the
charge as well as an online petition at the website Change.org that
contended the fee was unnecessary.

When Verizon introduced the fee on Thursday, it said
it was doing so to help cover the costs of processing fees taken from
credit and debit payments by credit card companies.

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©2011 the Los Angeles Times

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