You might recall that a little more than a year ago Verizon announced that they planned to start charging FiOS customers a $3.50 fee simply to pay your FiOS bill by credit card. Verizon ultimately backed off the idea
(already implemented for landline users), but it's just one example of dozens where a company breaks out a cost of doing business as an additional fee in order to give the illusion of a lower advertised price.
Now users in the Verizon forums note
that starting January 15, Verizon Wireless plans to charge users a new $2 "convenience" fee if you'd like to pay your bill over the phone or online. According to a convenience fee FAQ
, the move is all about providing users the "best wireless experience."
Verizon says users won't have to pay the fee if they enroll in autopay or pay via electronic check. Users on autopay have a higher chance of not seeing bill errors. That's a real problem given that antiquated and incompatible billing systems have given Verizon a bit of a consumer reputation for math mistakes
and billing gaffes with both their landline
and wireless products
Verizon's not alone in imposing fees just to pay your bill. A significant number of ISPs, including Comcast, now charge users a fee if they want to pay their bill in person
or over the phone
while speaking either to a real person or automated system. You begin to wonder when companies will begin charging fees if you want to speak to human support technicians if a website FAQ doesn't solve your problem.