MetroPCS gouges customers with $3 fee to pay bill in store

I stopped by a MetroPCS store at the corner of Main Street and Pico Boulevard near downtown Los Angeles. I was the only customer.

The woman behind the counter was straightening things up. She didn't seem overburdened with corporate activities.

I asked about bill payments. The saleswoman said I'd have to pony up $3 if I wanted to pay at the store with a credit card, a debit card or cash. I asked why.

"That's the rule," she explained.

I guess Crowell saw no upside in defending an indefensible company practice. But he did offer this: "MetroPCS works to educate its customers regarding the wide array of payment options available so they can select options that best fit their needs."

MetroPCS is the only major wireless company that gouges customers in this way. There's no fee for paying your bill at an AT&T, Verizon Wireless, T-Mobile or Sprint store.

You may be hit with a fee by these other guys for paying at an authorized dealer such as Radio Shack or for paying by phone — T-Mobile's $5 phone charge is a slap in the face — but in-store payments are gratis.

MetroPCS merged last year with T-Mobile, yet T-Mobile hasn't done anything about MetroPCS' customer-unfriendly billing practice.

Glenn Zaccara, a T-Mobile spokesman, said the two companies keep their distance from each other, policy-wise. "We have two brands that operate as separate business units," he said.

Consumers have grown accustomed to being nickel-and-dimed by wireless companies. From activation fees to early-termination fees, this is an industry that's completely at peace reaching into customers' pockets.

But a $3 fee for paying your bill in cash at a company store? That's nothing but greed, pure and simple.

David Lazarus' column runs Tuesdays and Fridays. He also can be seen daily on KTLA-TV Channel 5 and followed on Twitter @Davidlaz. Send your tips or feedback to david.lazarus@latimes.com.

Featured Stories

CTnow is using Facebook comments on stories. To comment on ctnow.com articles, sign into Facebook and enter your comment in the field below. Comments will appear in your Facebook News Feed unless you choose otherwise. To report spam or abuse, click the X next to the comment. For guidelines on commenting, click here.

CONSUMER COLUMNISTS

Kevin Hunt - The Electronic Jungle

Kevin Hunt: Wanna-Haves For The Tailgater - August 8, 2014 - Back-to-school season usually doesn't deserve a celebration, except by some parents, but it coincides with two other seasons —...

Gail MarksJarvis

Take steps to limit damage if hackers snare your data - August 29, 2014 - You might have gone to a supermarket, mailed a package at UPS or gone to a restaurant or hospital and thought nothing about holding your...

David Lazarus

Roles on police shows don't help Pat Crowley avoid grandparent scam - September 1, 2014 - "Please Don't Eat the Daisies" wasn't the most important TV show from my childhood in terms of life lessons.

Korky Vann

Books Inspiring Global Tours, Journeys - August 3, 2014 - Book lovers who head out to visit authors' homes, museums and gravesites are part of a new chapter in travel called "literary tourism."

Advertisement

...