Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Do They Think We're Stupid?

Marketplace Morning Report informed me this morning that corporations such as mortgage and cell phone companies now charge their customers for the right to pay their bills. LA Times consumer reporter David Lazarus called it "pay to pay."

Cell phone with coin slots attached
Who gets hit with these charges? Anyone not paying by check or not using monthly auto-payment. In other words, people who pay online once in a while, or who use an automated phone system. Mortgage companies charge $15, while Verizon is planning to start charging $3.50.

Commenters on the Marketplace story pointed out that any type of auto-payment actually saves rather than costs the companies money compared to processing checks, and that signing up for autopay sometimes requires users to agree to unreasonable things like releasing all of their personal information for marketing uses. One commenter urged everyone to pay by check to see how the companies like handling all that paper.

Gee, there's nothing like a good corporate greed story to get your blood going in the a.m.


Becky said...

I have Verizon, and I was not aware of any fee for paying online (not auto-pay, just a one-time payment). I pay that way every month. I just looked, and I don't see any charge for it, either. Maybe this is true for other types of accounts?

Daughter Number Three said...

Becky, you're right. I looked back at the Marketplace story and it says Verizon is planning to start charging $3.50. (I've changed the story to say that.)

So this means you should call them and complain before they institute the charge!