Verizon Wireless has reversed its decision to charge a $2 fee for one-time telephone and online bill payments bowing to a storm of criticism from consumers and the U.S. communications regulator.
The biggest U.S. wireless operator retracted its decision on Friday, just a day after it announced the fee, which was to have begun January 15.
The consumer victory comes after Bank of America recently decided against a new $5 monthly fee for debit card users after consumer and lawmaker uproar about the charge.
Verizon said it was making the decision based on customer input after many consumers spoke out about the fee on the company's online forum, with some threatening to leave the service as a result.
The Verizon Wireless turn-around came after the U.S. Federal Communications Commission said it was concerned about the fee and vowed to look into it.
On behalf of American consumers, we're concerned about Verizon's actions and are looking into the matter, an official for the FCC said earlier on Friday.
The prospect of a $2 fee created a flurry of online activity and one consumer organization, Change.org, said that 95,000 people joined a campaign on its website urging Verizon to drop the fee.
The era of corporations walking roughshod over consumers without consequence is officially over, Ben Rattray, chief executive of Change.org, said in a statement.
Verizon Wireless customers told the company, often in colorful language, that they would not put up with the fee.
If this fee goes through, I will be taking my business elsewhere!!! one person said on the Verizon Wireless website.
Another said Victory is ours! after the turn-around.
The Verizon Wireless uproar served to highlight practices in the communications industry. Its rivals AT&T Inc and Sprint Nextel said on Friday that they charge some customers $5 for bill payments, revising their comments from the day before.
AT&T and Comcast Corp say that they charge some customers who look for personal assistance in paying their bills but that they do not charge for online payments.
Verizon Wireless is a venture of Verizon Communications Inc and Vodafone Group Plc.
(Reporting By Sinead Carew; Editing by Tim Dobbyn)