Verizon backs down on $2 convenience charge

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In yet another consumer victory thanks to the power of social media, Verizon has backed down from a junk fee on customers one day after it was first instated.

On Dec. 29, at 11:35 AM ET, Verizon put out notification of new fee of $2 whenever a customer paid a monthly cell bill online or by phone. The public outrage was immediate on Facebook and with Tweets going out. By 3:30 PM ET the next day, Verizon was in full retreat and removed the fee.

In the old days, if a company started playing around like this, it would have been months before they got a sense that people weren’t going to just take it. But as we saw recently with Bank of America trying to charge you $60/year to use your ATM card, the outcry can start immediately and have a real impact. (Bank of America took weeks to recant their unpopular fee. Verizon to its credit realized that theirs was a bad idea in just a little over 24 hours.)

It shows the power that you and I have. In an era of heightened competition, companies had better be careful when they let some clever MBA come up with some new way of ripping off customers. (As someone who has an MBA, I can say that. Too many MBAs end up with tunnel vision and miss the wider picture.)

You have the power, you flexed it and they listened. You’ll see more and more of this kind of thing happening in 2012.    



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