When Verizon Wireless announced a $2 fee for customers making a one-time payment with credit or debit cards, the response was as quick as an electron.
This is a new age for corporations that may have eons of practice ignoring the suggestion box.
That's when suggestion boxes were seldom aired out in public. These days, however, social Web sites are the modern, wide open, public suggestion box, where one snarly comment about a company's behavior -- a $2 fee for using a debit card to make a payment that smelled like greed to many, for example -- can turn into a public pecking party. Corporations quiver at the possibilities here.
Bank of America abandoned a plan to impose a $5 monthly fee on account holders in 2011 and Netflix was soundly bashed from one end of Twitter to the other when it sprung a price hike on its subscribers.
Netflix ended up dropping its plan to split mail order and downloading into two separate businesses. The public didn't like it. They said so and the company has been reeling ever since.
Understatements? Verizon Wireless spokesman David Samberg said, in explaining why the fee was put in place by saying, "You look at all of the options and choose the one that's best and easiest for you." He also said, "We hope it's not the case that people are forced into paying this."
How's that? Verizon was imposing a fee that it hoped people would not have to pay?
It turns out he was right. Verizon quickly capitulated and customers, it so happens, will not have to pay the fee that Verizon hoped people would not have to pay.
Understatement of the Week: Verizon's "Animal Farm" terminology. When first imposing the charge, Verizon called it ... wait for it ... a "convenience" fee.