Lauren Goode

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Verizon Introduces “Convenience Fee” for Some Online, Phone Payments

Verizon Wireless today instituted a new $2 “convenience fee” for customers who make a single bill payment by telephone, and for some who pay online via the Verizon Web site. Customers can avoid the new fee by enrolling in Auto Pay — or by paying by e-check, online directly from their bank Web site, at a Verizon Wireless store, using a Verizon Wireless gift card or rebate, or by good old-fashioned check or money order.

The wireless company said on its Web site earlier today that the fee will go toward costs incurred by processing individual online or phone payments — in other words, actual customer service representatives handling telephone transactions.

Verizon did not immediately respond to a request for comment, or to an inquiry about how many of its customers currently pay their bills online or over the phone.

One fed-up user has already launched a fledgling petition drive aimed at getting Verizon to reverse course.

Sprint does not currently charge its customers to pay bills online, though it notes, as other wireless providers do, that if you pay through your bank, you could incur charges from that financial institution. AT&T also doesn’t charge customers for monthly online bill payments, nor does T-Mobile, though T-Mobile notes that certain types of accounts, such as T-Mobile Monthly4G (prepaid) and certain business and government accounts, aren’t eligible for paperless payment. T-Mobile customers are actually encouraged to make online payments, as they’re charged a $5 processing fee for payments made over the phone through a customer service representative.

(Image courtesy of EMay78/Flickr)

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Just as the atom bomb was the weapon that was supposed to render war obsolete, the Internet seems like capitalism’s ultimate feat of self-destructive genius, an economic doomsday device rendering it impossible for anyone to ever make a profit off anything again. It’s especially hopeless for those whose work is easily digitized and accessed free of charge.

— Author Tim Kreider on not getting paid for one’s work