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Verizon Wireless drops $2 fee

Responding to customer backlash, Verizon Wireless has dropped its plans to charge a new fee.

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Union workers picket outside a Verizon Wireless store in San Francisco, Calif., on Aug. 9, 2011. (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

Verizon Wireless has dropped its plans to charge a $2 fee each time a customer makes a one-time bill payment online or over the telephone, Reuters reported. The Basking Ridge, NJ-based company announced the fee only yesterday.

Annoyed customers instantly took to Twitter and Facebook to complain, and more than 100,000 people signed consumer organization change.org’s petition urging Verizon to stop the fee, the Wall Street Journal reported. This morning, the US Federal Communications Commission said it would look into Verizon’s fee plans.

"We take great care to listen to our customers," Verizon Wireless CEO Dan Mead said in an emailed statement today, the Wall Street Journal reported. "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."

A spokesman told Reuters that the company had merely wanted to steer consumers towards paying their bills via methods such as autopay, which allows Verizon to automatically charge a credit card or bank account each month.

According to the New York Times:

What was surprising about the Verizon Wireless rollback was how quickly it occurred. It took consumers about a month to persuade Bank of America to rescind its plan to charge a $5 monthly fee to people who used their debit card for purchases.

More from GlobalPost: Bank of America cancels debit card fees

"The era of corporations walking roughshod over consumers without consequence is officially over," Ben Rattray, chief executive of Change.org, said in a statement after Verizon backed off the fee, according to Reuters.

“I just think people are sick of being nickeled and dimed by big companies,” Edgar Dworsky, founder of ConsumerWorld.org told the New York Times. “And it’s just baffling to me why a company like Verizon Wireless or Bank of America doesn’t do market testing on something like this first. It doesn’t take a genius to figure out that there is going to be a backlash.”
 

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/americas/united-states/111230/verizon-wireless-drops-fee-twitter-autopay