Time to run some Saturday morning errands. And one of those errands is to pay my phone bill.
Normally I just do an electronic payment from my back account, but I had come into a sizeable amount of cash recently, and decided to pay my Verizon phone bill with the cash in hand. You know, before I spent the money on something frivolous like a new camera or four.
Okay, off to the Verizon retail store in Latham. I enter the store. Normally these Verizon stores will have self-service kiosks, where you can insert the cash and have your receipts emailed to you.
Hmm. No kiosk in the store. Oh well. May as well just give the cash to a customer service representative at one of the desks.
“Hi, I’d like to pay my Verizon phone bill,” I said to one of the red check guys.
“Okay, we can do that. How would you like to pay your bill, sir?”
“Cash is fine.”
“Okay, just so you know, we charge an additional $3.00 for cash payments.”
I’m sorry, what?
“See, we’re not a Verizon Corporate store.”
“What difference does that mean to me? Your building says Verizon right on the front. Big white letters with that sans serif font. Verizon is Verizon.”
“No, we’re just a licensed retailer for Verizon. So we have to charge $3.00 for bill payments made in cash. But there’s no charge if you use your credit card.”
“So … why am I being charged extra for a cash payment? That makes no sense to me.”
“Well,” the red check guy said “We get charged a processing fee by the banks, so we have to pass that processing fee onto our customers.”
Oh … this is not good. As George Orwell might say, this is doubleplusungood. As Anthony Burgess might say, this is an ultraviolence horrorshow. Or as I might say, I haven’t seen that much horseshit since the last time I walked past the Saratoga Harness paddock barn.
I started to leave. “Wait,” the guy said, “Since you’re here already, if you pay the bill, we’ll eat the $3 charge, you won’t have to pay it.”
“Nah,” I said, leaving the store. The only reason these knobs were waiving the fee is that they didn’t like that I had a problem with their surcharging me, and they just assumed I would simply take the surcharge and like it.
Trust me. Verizon has so many damn surcharges on their bill. There’s a surcharge for New York State phone owners. There’s a surcharge for Albany County phone owners. There’s probably a surcharge because my telephone number has a 7 in it.
Ended up driving four miles to another Verizon store on Central Avenue in Albany. Confirmed that, yes, it was a Verizon Corporate outlet. Confirmed that, yes, it had a kiosk for cash payments. Walked over to the kiosk, paid the exact amount I wanted – without a $3 surcharge. Done and done.
Later in the day, I called Verizon and asked them about this policy. Verizon really couldn’t give me a definitive answer on the situation, but they did provide me a $10 credit to me for my trouble. So there’s that.
But still …
Are you as tired as me about having to pay difference prices depending on whether you use cash or credit? And it’s not just the cash surcharge. Many places will add a processing fee if you use a credit card to make your payment, because they don’t want to pay the processing fee to the credit card companies, and would rather you pay that for them.
Because you know what I was muttering to myself as I left that Verizon store in Latham? You know what muted oath I was saying on my way back to the car?
“Oh, this is SO going to be a blog post. The minute I get home … this is going on the blog.”
Maybe I waited a day or two to publish … but still …
Geez, Verizon, if your New Year’s Resolution was to piss me off about some nickel-and-dime surcharge in 2023 …
You sure as hell kept that resolution.