Do You Think Utilities Should Charge High Fees For Online Payments?

Discussion in Utilities started by Diane Lane • Jul 3, 2015.

  1. Happyflowerlady

    HappyflowerladyWell-Known Member

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    It might be that some people are paying with credit/debit cards that do not have enough funds in the account; so the extra charge is for the company to check that there is enough money and also to put a hold on those funds.
    When I was selling newspaper subscriptions, this was a big issue. People would pay with their card, but when the card went through, then the funds weren't there.
    The newspaper subscription would get cancelled; but in the meantime, the people had received free newspaper delivery, plus whatever gift we had given them for taking the subscription.
    We ended up have to run a check on each account to make sure that the money was there before we could take the credit/debit card.
    In theory, it should make paying for utilities or license charge much easier both for the consumer and the company; but when there are issues with insufficient funds, then it makes it harder for everyone.
     
  2. djdontpay

    djdontpayActive Member

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    No no, they just charge extra 4% no matter what.
     
  3. BrandonScooterman

    BrandonScootermanActive Member

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    I agree that some of these fee's and things are getting crazy!
    I have seen the CC thing a bunch recently too.
    BUT I can offer one defense for those charging extra for credit card transaction, I had a job a few years back where half my time was spent dealing with Visa and Mastercard.
    CC companies actually charge the retailer a lot of money, typically a percent of the transaction. We were paying about 50 grand in fee's a year for the privilege of accepting Visa and MC.
    This is actually why there is a new trend starting where smaller businesses and public operations are no longer accepting credit cards.
     
  4. djdontpay

    djdontpayActive Member

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    Yes. The retailers and other companies should ask Visa and Mastercard to stop charging them an arm and a leg for financial services. It makes no sense. Ultimately, the cost will be passed on to the consumer and we will have to pay more.
     
  5. BrandonScooterman

    BrandonScootermanActive Member

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    Well it makes sense for the credit card companies, actually it makes them millions of dollars! For the rest of us it isn't very fair, I don't think there is much we can do about it these days though. So many of us rely on credit cards, especially for online transactions. The only way I see it going away is if the government stepped in.
     
  6. GemmaRowlands

    GemmaRowlandsActive Member

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    I don't think there should be any extra payment no matter how you wish to pay, because surely it doesn't matter so long as you're able to get the money to the person you owe it to. I find that charging people for payments stops them from feeling able to pay bills freely, so this is certainly something that needs to be addressed.
     
  7. legeipslt

    legeipsltMember

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    I have never heard of this practice. If you are affected by it, then I can understand being upset. I live in AZ and all my monthly bills are paid online. Not an automatic payment, but I go online and pay manually each month. I am never charged anything extra. One of my utilities, does charge an extra amount if you pay by talking to a person in Billing or Customer Service. But to pay online, it's just pay the amount and that's it. Easy peasy!
     
  8. Krissttina Isobe

    Krissttina IsobeWell-Known Member

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    I know what you mean for I do online tax returns and I have to pay for internet payment of my taxes, and if I were to mail it in it would cost me just the stamp. But I guess the electricity and the set up for the site is costly, so with the simplicity of doing things online, saving time and the shear convenience of online things there is a cost I suppose.
     
  9. beasleym1989

    beasleym1989Member

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    The fee to pay my utility bill online is $3.95 each time regardless of the bill total. I completely understand having to pay a small fee, because I know that the utility companies do get charged in order to have the software capable of accepting online payments. I can't imagine that they'd need to be that high though. I probably wouldn't gripe at all if it was closer to $2.00, but the $4.00 just seems ridiculous.
     
  10. Hedonologist

    HedonologistActive Member

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    It does annoy me that those paying with direct debit pay less (and significantly so) Many of them are not even paying their full bill the whole year, so I'm not sure what the benefit to them is, and you can cancel direct debits any time.
     
  11. remnant

    remnantActive Member

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    I think that one should not be charged high fees for online payments since you are saving the utility company processing charges and the time taken to complete the payments. In this era of decentralization, companies are reducing their overheads by cutting back on staff in clerical departments courtesy of automation.
     
  12. explorerx7

    explorerx7Active Member

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    Consider that the utility company is spared of the cost of having a customer service person being involved, the security cost for transporting the cash and depositing it. Why should the customer be charged a high fee for the online payment which would more than likely eliminate some of the costs to the company?
     
  13. DrRipley

    DrRipleyExpert

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    I don't think online payments should be more expensive. I think since you are going to be doing this regularly then you should take it up with the company and send them feedback. However on the other hand I think the process for them might also just be equally expensive. I'm just guessing, but maybe they spend as much on technicians and maintenance of the online systems as well as paying just as much to keep the servers running and hefty enough to be capable of handling the large user base. That's just my guess but I do agree that they should at least just be equal in terms of fees for both offline and online.
     
  14. atlmom5

    atlmom5Active Member

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    Our utility company used to charge a fee for online payments too. I knew several people that didn't care about the extra fee, they just liked the convenience of the service. However, I wasn't willing to pay for the convenience.....besides I don't live to far from the payment office, so I would walk or drive to the office and pay my bill.

    The city would send out statements every month trying to convince residents to use the online option because it is more "efficient" for everyone. Well, guess what? It isn't more efficient to a resident when you tack on more money to their bill, so many residents continued to pay in person or send a check in the mail. So, after almost two years the city dropped the online fee and now the lines are a lot shorter at the office.
     
  15. Zyni

    ZyniWell-Known Member

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    I just find it ironic that my phone company charges extra if you use the phone for payments. What? The bank charges extra to use a debit card. It's a bank. You should be able to use every kind of payment method at a financial institution that handles every kind. So, instead of calling or going online to pay my car payment, I have to use snail mail or go to the bank in person with a check. I find it all a bit ridiculous.

    It couldn't cost them that much if people with small online businesses can handle payments online without ridiculous fees. Maybe one of these days the rest will catch up.
     
  16. MrsJones

    MrsJonesActive Member

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    I understand paying for the convenience that is provided for paying for bills online but I don't understand the increase in the rates that occur. My thoughts it should never increase. Any increase that utilities may have can easily be written off as an expense. Even when you pay at one of the authorized agents their service fees increase. Depending on the number of bills that you pay those service fees do add up.
     
  17. Jamille

    JamilleActive Member

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    Thankfully, we don't get charged any convenience fees for paying electric, water, and telephone online. That is probably because banks are offering these services for free. Once the banks start charging the utilities companies for their online facility, I'm pretty sure that these companies will also charge their subscribers. That's something I can foresee in the near future as banks would also want to profit for this type of service.
     
  18. Binu

    BinuActive Member

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    I don't think the extra charge can be justified. The collection fees or processing fees, what ever they call, should be included on their bill. They have already charged us for their service, why should they let have extra money. But sadly, there is not way out for us. We have to comply their rules.
     
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