Hot on the heels of the $5 Fee Fiasco (like the Subway song, get it? ) that engulfed most of Bank of America last year, Verizon has drawn the ire of the interwebs by announcing a $2 fee for those who make a one-time payment online or via phone.
This move hurts those who don't have a recurring charge system in place - basically those without bank accounts and those who pay their bills at the last minute.
Predictably, the internet has lost its mind over this.
An online petition garnered over 50,000 signatures in a single day. The Verizon twitter account was deluged with angry tweets about the fees.
Just a day after its initial announcements, Verizon heeded the sound of thousands of angry customers and cancelled the fee.
Here's where Verizon misstepped:
- They tried to be sneaky. The announcement about the fees was made in between Christmas and New Year's, which is known as a "Dead Week" in the journalism world because people are spending time with their families. By announcing it during this time, Verizon was trying to sneak it past media scrutiny. *Insert Verizon twirling its mustache like Whiplash from Rocky and Bullwinkle.
- They did it purely in self-interest. Anyone who knows anything knows that this is a corporation's number one priority. But some analysts think it was just a mad money grab -
Gerry Purdy, a principal analyst with MobileTrax, a market research firm, said it made sense that Verizon was charging for over-the-phone payments, because carriers typically must pay a third-party service to handle those transactions. But Internet payments do not require a third party, he said.
“That’s the one that surprises me, because most people won’t charge you for paying on the Internet,” Mr. Purdy said. “When you book a plane ticket online, you don’t get charged a fee.”
- They underestimated their customer base in the age of Twitter. Back in the olden days (Re: 2005) It could be safely assumed that any consumer backlash would take weeks or months to organize. These days faction of people with an agenda (noble or otherwise) can join together and raise their voices to be heard.
People hate fees. This is no surprise. But what people hate even more are unnecessary fees and the companies that try to be slick about it.
*Oh, and here's that picture of Verizon twirling its mustache like a cartoon character from earlier.