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Kip Tips

Occupy the Fee-osphere

Last October, Bank of America abandoned a plan to charge its customers a $5 monthly fee to use their debit cards for purchases. Then, in late December, Verizon Wireless retracted plans to impose a $2 fee on customers who paid their bill online using a credit or debit card. In both cases, a torrent of customer complaints sent over social media helped persuade the companies that the potential gains weren’t worth the damage to their reputation.

Whether you are complaining about a one-off issue or about a company’s global pricing policies, using social media to make your complaint public and apply peer pressure can elicit a quick response. Facebook and Twitter are the most popular forums to drum up support. In the case of the Bank of America debit card fee, consumers also started a grass-roots campaign against the fee using an online platform at

If a business has a strong presence on Twitter, that’s probably the fastest way to get your message out. Search for the company’s name at, and address your tweets to the business’s account. (If your search turns up a page designated for customer service, send your messages to that account.) You can publicly tweet your dissatisfaction if the private exchange proves to be fruitless. So that all of your followers will see your tweets, sandwich the name of the company in the tweet, with at least one word before the company name.