Even if most of us will never occupy Wall Street, ordinary folks can still have a powerful impact on corporate policies. Some recent victories worth noting:
- Bank of America. Congress recently passed a law capping the fees that banks could charge merchants who accepted debit cards. To make up the lost revenue, Bank of America announced it would charge customers $5 per month to use their cards (several other banks proposed their own fees).
People were outraged, and more than 300,000 signed a petition at Change.org. Result: last week Bank of America decided to drop the fee. A statement from co-chief operating officer David Darnell said, “We have listened to our customers very closely.”
- Netflix. Remember when Netflix decided to separate its old DVD-by-mail service from its video-streaming service? Customers who wanted both services faced a 60% rate hike, and the hassle of managing two separate accounts. People howled.
Netflix lost 800,000 subscribers in the third quarter. Its stock price tanked. Result: CEO Reed Hastings has kept the price increase (alas), but pulled the plug on two separate services, giving people back the convenience of a unified Netflix service.