Verizon to start charging people for paying their bills

Verizon Wireless’s $2 ‘Convenience Fee’ to Face FCC Scrutiny – Businessweek

Dec. 30 (Bloomberg) — Verizon Wireless, the largest U.S. mobile carrier, will face a Federal Communications Commission probe into its $2 “convenience fee” for users who make single bill payments on a month-to-month basis online or by phone.

“On behalf of American consumers, we’re concerned about Verizon’s actions and are looking into the matter,” Neil Grace, an FCC spokesman, said in an e-mail. Grace didn’t give details on what steps the agency may take.

Customers began criticizing Verizon Wireless on Twitter and online-discussion forums yesterday after the Basking Ridge, New Jersey-based company disclosed the fee, with some setting up online petitions and calling for consumers to boycott the carrier. Verizon Wireless isn’t considering canceling the charge because it’s just one of many ways to pay your bill, including others that are month-to-month options, said Brenda Raney, a spokeswoman.

“Customers have a number of alternatives to pay their bill and not incur the convenience fee,” Raney said. “Paying the fee is an option, not an absolute.

This is exactly why we need an FCC, and why I’m dank glad they didn’t let continued consolidation make this crap industry standard.