This week Verizon announced
they'll soon charge users a $2 "convenience fee" to pay their bill online or with a credit card instead of enrolling en autopay. The story has since gotten huge traction in the mainstream press
, though most of the stories ignore the fact that Verizon already tried and failed to impose a similar fee on FiOS users
and already charges some landline customers such a fee. The FCC today issued a short and sweet statement saying they'd at least take a cursory glance at Verizon's new fee.
"On behalf of American consumers, we’re concerned about Verizon’s actions and are looking into the matter," the FCC said in a statement released to the press.
Whether or not the FCC does anything about the fee is another matter entirely. Historically the FCC does occasionally crack down on over-billing for services, recently fining Verizon $25 million
(a good deal less than Verizon probably made) for a bogus $2 data charge fee. However, when it comes to various other completely fabricated fees used to jack up the advertised price (like "regulatory recovery" fees), U.S. regulators have a long and proud history of total inaction
The FCC likely hopes that a warning shot over the bow will be enough to get Verizon to back off, as they did when they tried to charge FiOS users $3.50 if they wanted to pay by credit card
. We'll have to see if an empty FCC threat and some significant bad press will be enough to get Verizon to retreat from their latest cash grab.Update
: Verizon has decided to scrap the fee
, issuing the following statement:
"At Verizon, we take great care to listen to our customers. Based on their input, we believe the best path forward is to encourage customers to take advantage of the best and most efficient options, eliminating the need to institute the fee at this time."