Here is a small victory for consumers to start 2012 on the right foot. After complaints by customers and vocal opposition by political leaders, Verizon cancelled its $2 single payment fee. (Please see previous post for additional background) Hopefully consumers will start taking back their power in 2012! Capitalism provides the greatest voice for consumers when they understand that their purchasing habits impact how sale driven companies treat them. Kudos to everyone who stood up to the small injustice, Assemblyman Dinowitz for his leadership and Verizon management for listening to its customers. Hopefully consumer diligence against frivolous fees by for-profit corporations and GOVERNMENT entities will become ingrained again in the American consumer psyche.
Assembly Consumer Affairs and Protection Committee Chair Jeffrey Dinowitz hailed Verizon’s decision to back down from its plan to charge single payment fees to consumers who pay their bills online or over the phone each billing cycle as opposed to enrolling in automatic bill pay. Single payment fees generate numerous complaints and inquiries from customers because they unfairly target low-income consumers. “We won! This was a huge victory for consumers. When I called on Verizon to reverse this fee, thousands and thousands of consumers demanded this as well. What a victory!” said Assemblyman Dinowitz.
As Assemblyman Dinowitz stated last week, “During these tough economic times, many consumers are struggling to pay their bills and must budget very carefully. Consumers who pay their bills at the last minute are often living paycheck to paycheck. These people should not be forced to bear the burden of an additional monthly charge. Businesses looking to increase regular and timely payments through automatic bill pay need to look at other ways to achieve this goal, such as incentive-based programs, that do not penalize low- and middle-income consumers.”
“No company should charge some customers additional fees based on how they pay their bills. It just amazes me that, at a time when Verizon has already been harshly criticized for its efforts to cut back on the benefits of its workers, it would take additional steps that negatively impact on middle class and poor people.”
Assemblyman Dinowitz said of the victory, “This abrupt reversal by Verizon shows that consumers really can have an influence on corporate policies. The recent reversal of a fee for use of debit cards by Bank of America and now this change of heart by Verizon prove that it is important to speak out loudly against unfairness and injustice. We may not always win, but the only way to win on issues such as these is to fight.”