Lauren Goode

Recent Posts by Lauren Goode

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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I think the NSA has a job to do and we need the NSA. But as (physicist) Robert Oppenheimer said, “When you see something that is technically sweet, you go ahead and do it and argue about what to do about it only after you’ve had your technical success. That is the way it was with the atomic bomb.”

— Phil Zimmerman, PGP inventor and Silent Circle co-founder, in an interview with Om Malik