CARMICHAEL (CBS13) — Without a credit card or bank account, Rhonda Whitley only has one way to pay her monthly MetroPCS cell phone bill — cold, hard cash.
But at MetroPCS, paying in cash costs her $3 more — bring her monthly bill from $39 to $42.
“It’s ridiculous,” she said. “Why do I have to pay anything extra to pay my bill?”
Whitley won’t have it, saying she’s switching to another company if they keep charging the cash “convenience” fee.
“I don’t know who it’s convenient for,” she said. “Not me!”
About 1 in 10 U.S. households pay bills with cash instead of using checks or credit cards, according to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC).
Companies are following a model similar to the airlines, nickel and diming customers with creative fees, said Emily Rousch of the U.S. Public Interest Research Group,
“Consumers shouldn’t have to pay to pay,” she said. “It’s when consumers feel like their being socked with hidden fees or unexpected fees that you see a lot of backlash.”
It can cause customers, such as Whitley, to switch their service to other companies, Rousch said.
After customer complaints, AT&T dropped its own $5 cash payment fee earlier this year.
MetroPCS, however, is sticking by its charge, a company spokesperson told CBS13.
“MetroPCS offers customers a variety of ways to pay for service, including several no-fee options like AutoPay, Online Express Pay, MyMetro, and Pay by Mail. In order to facilitate taking customer payments in convenient ways, a convenience fee may be charged,” the company said in a written email statement.
“However, MetroPCS provides ample notice to [sic] and works to educate our customers regarding the wide array of payment options available at MetroPCS so customers can select options that best fit their needs,” the statement said.
Unwilling to pay the feel, Whitley said she plans to leave MetroPCS, and hopes others will join her.
“I think [customers] should say something,” she said, “and not pay the fee.”
MetroPCS stores often have kiosks that can take cash payments, but these still charge a $2 fee. In-person cash transactions are subject to a $3 fee.