U.S. telecommunications giant Verizon Wireless played down a new $2 payment fee that received a scathing response on the Internet.
"We hope it's not the case that people are forced into paying this," said company spokesman David Samberg. "You look at all of the options and choose the one that is best and easiest for you," he said.
Online messages concerning the fee, however, roundly denounced the plan, which is to charge Verizon subscribers who use a credit card or a debit card to make a one-time payment either by phone or online, The New York Times reported Friday.
The fee, which starts Jan. 15, will not be assessed for customers who pay with a debit or credit card month after month, nor for customers who use checks, have their payments deducted automatically from their banks, use a gift or rebate card, or make a one-time payment over the phone by allowing Verizon to tap directly into their bank accounts, the Times said.
Despite the long list of exceptions, the fee was trounced on Twitter, a sign of the times in which customers are rebelling against fees or price hikes -- Bank of America and Netflix are two examples -- with an online grassroots reaction.
"They are punishing people who need to wait until the last second" to pay a bill, wrote David O'Neill in a Twitter posting.
Indeed, Samberg said the fee is intended to "cover the costs of those last-minute payments."
Verizon called the fee a "convenience" fee, but for whom?
"We don't want anyone to have to pay this," Samberg said.