NEW YORK - After a customer backlash, Verizon Wireless on Friday dropped a plan to start charging $2 for every payment subscribers make over the phone or online with their credit or debit cards.
In a statement on its website Friday, the company said "customer feedback" prompted the decision to drop the "convenience fee" it wanted to introduce on Jan. 15.
The FCC had already announced that it would be looking into the proposed fee.
"On behalf of American consumers, we're concerned about Verizon's actions and are looking into the matter," an FCC official said in an e-mailed statement only minutes before news broke of the plan to abandon the proposed fee.
Verizon wanted to steer people to electronic check payments, which are cheaper, and automatic credit card payments, which are more reliable.
A petition on Change.org against the fees had gathered more than 57,000 names by Friday afternoon, a day after Verizon, the country's largest cellphone company, announced the fees.
Payment processors for power companies usually charge "convenience fees" of up to $5 for every payment made by phone or online, but cellphone companies haven't taken the step yet. The furor against Verizon hints that they may have to wait further.
Verizon Wireless serves 91 million phones and other devices on accounts that pay the company directly, and more who pay indirectly through other companies. It's a joint venture of Verizon Communications Inc. of New York and Vodafone Group PLC of Britain.
Verizon's statement: http://news.verizonwireless.com/news/2011/12/pr2011-12-30.html