Verizon Wireless to pay $25M for spurious fees

Oct 28, 2010 By PETER SVENSSON , AP Technology Writer

(AP) -- Verizon Wireless has agreed to pay $25 million to the U.S. government and at least $52.8 million in refunds to customers who inadvertently racked up data charges on their phones over the last three years, federal regulators said Thursday.

The Federal Communications Commission said the settlement is the largest in its history.

To forestall action by the FCC, Verizon Wireless said earlier this month that it would issue refunds, mostly of $2 to $6, to about 15 million subscribers. It didn't give a total value for the refunds.

The FCC started asking Verizon Wireless last year about $1.99-a-megabyte data access fees that appeared on the bills of customers who didn't have data plans but who accidentally initiated data or Web access by pressing a button on their phones.

The FCC said it would check to see that Verizon paid out the agreed-to refunds.

After the Cleveland Plain Dealer raised awareness of the spurious fees, Verizon Wireless said last year that it would take steps to prevent the charges from appearing and that it would issue refunds to customers who complained.

In a statement Thursday, Verizon Wireless said the charges were inadvertent and its software is being changed to prevent such charges in the future.

Verizon Wireless, the largest cell phone carrier in the U.S., is a joint venture between Verizon Communications Inc. and Britain's Vodafone Group PLC.

Explore further: Making smartphone browsing 20% faster while reducing power consumption by 40%

not rated yet
add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Verizon Wireless plans $30M-$90M customer refunds

Oct 04, 2010

(AP) -- Verizon Wireless could pay out up to $90 million in refunds to cell phone customers who were improperly charged for inadvertent Web access or data usage over the past several years.

FCC asks Verizon Wireless to explain fees

Dec 04, 2009

(AP) -- The Federal Communications Commission on Friday asked Verizon Wireless why it recently doubled the fees it charges customers when they break their contracts on "smart" phones.

FCC seeking information about wireless fees

Jan 26, 2010

(AP) -- Federal regulators are asking the nation's big wireless companies whether they give customers adequate notice about early termination fees for breaking a service contract before it expires.

Cell phone users rack up accidental data charges

Aug 26, 2009

(AP) -- Verizon Wireless is looking into ways to prevent subscribers without data plans from accidentally starting up the Web browser on their phones and racking up $1.99 in fees each time.

FCC rules seek to avoid surprise wireless bills

Oct 13, 2010

(AP) -- Federal regulators want to stop cell phone "bill shock" by requiring wireless companies to alert subscribers before they run out of minutes, hit data usage or text messaging caps or start racking up international ...

Recommended for you

Microsoft beefs up security protection in Windows 10

5 hours ago

What Microsoft users in business care deeply about—-a system architecture that supports efforts to get their work done efficiently; a work-centric menu to quickly access projects rather than weather readings ...

US official: Auto safety agency under review

17 hours ago

Transportation officials are reviewing the "safety culture" of the U.S. agency that oversees auto recalls, a senior Obama administration official said Friday. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has been criticized ...

Out-of-patience investors sell off Amazon

18 hours ago

Amazon has long acted like an ideal customer on its own website: a freewheeling big spender with no worries about balancing a checkbook. Investors confident in founder and CEO Jeff Bezos' invest-and-expand ...

Ebola.com domain sold for big payout

18 hours ago

The owners of the website Ebola.com have scored a big payday with the outbreak of the epidemic, selling the domain for more than $200,000 in cash and stock.

Hacker gets prison for cyberattack stealing $9.4M

22 hours ago

An Estonian man who pleaded guilty to orchestrating a 2008 cyberattack on a credit card processing company that enabled hackers to steal $9.4 million has been sentenced to 11 years in prison by a federal judge in Atlanta.

Magic Leap moves beyond older lines of VR

23 hours ago

Two messages from Magic Leap: Most of us know that a world with dragons and unicorns, elves and fairies is just a better world. The other message: Technology can be mindboggingly awesome. When the two ...

User comments : 0