Cell phone users rack up accidental data charges

August 26, 2009 By PETER SVENSSON , AP Technology Writer

(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.

On many phones, including ones on other carriers, it's easy to inadvertently hit a button that brings up the .

"It is obvious to us that we need to fix this aspect of our service," spokesman Tom Pica said.

He said the company is refunding data charges to subscribers who complain.

Customers of the No. 2 carrier, AT&T Inc., have the same problem. Their phones will usually warn them of extra charges the first time they try to start up the company's MediaNet browser, but if the customer agrees to the charges the first time, there is no warning on subsequent access.

Customers at Tracfone Wireless, the largest prepaid carrier, report similar problems.

The Plain Dealer in Cleveland tapped into a vein of frustration among customers in columns on the issue this month.

Most carriers will turn off all data access at the subscriber's request, but readers the newspaper talked to reported conflicting information from Verizon Wireless customer service representatives, with some being told that turning off data access would also stop picture messaging.

©2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Explore further: Tracfone tests cheap unlimited plan on Verizon

Related Stories

Tracfone tests cheap unlimited plan on Verizon

July 15, 2009

(AP) -- Tracfone Wireless, the country's largest provider of "prepaid" cell phones, is quietly testing a new service that appears to be a response to the fierce price competition in the prepaid market.

Verizon offers to cut exclusive time for phones

May 8, 2009

(AP) -- Verizon Wireless has offered to shorten the period in which it demands exclusive rights to new cell phones from LG and Samsung in an effort to give small rural carriers a better chance to sell up-to-date phones.

T-Mobile adds 325,000 net subs, mostly prepaid

August 6, 2009

(AP) -- T-Mobile USA, the fourth-largest wireless carrier in the country, says it added a net 325,000 subscribers in the second quarter, with most of them choosing to prepay rather than sign two-year contracts.

Verizon gives free Wi-Fi to Internet customers

July 27, 2009

(AP) -- Verizon is giving some of its home broadband customers free access to thousands of Wi-Fi hotspots in airports and other public places, taking a page from competitors that already offer wireless Internet access.

AT&T to buy territories from Verizon for $2.35B

May 9, 2009

(AP) -- AT&T Inc. said Friday it will buy the assets of Verizon Wireless in 79 mainly rural areas for $2.35 billion, a deal that will affect more than 1 million subscribers.

Recommended for you

New method analyzes corn kernel characteristics

November 17, 2017

An ear of corn averages about 800 kernels. A traditional field method to estimate the number of kernels on the ear is to manually count the number of rows and multiply by the number of kernels in one length of the ear. With ...

Optically tunable microwave antennas for 5G applications

November 16, 2017

Multiband tunable antennas are a critical part of many communication and radar systems. New research by engineers at the University of Bristol has shown significant advances in antennas by using optically induced plasmas ...


Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

not rated yet Aug 27, 2009
AT&T told me the same thing, that turning off data access would prevent pix messaging.
not rated yet Aug 27, 2009
"It is obvious to us that we need to fix this aspect of our service," spokesman Tom Pica said.

He said the company is refunding data charges to subscribers who complain.
Yes, but the subscribers that don't complain get hosed for 2 bucks a shot.

Typically I'd say caveat emptor however, Verizon requires that all their provided devices carry Verizon's firmware. Anyone with a Verizon phone feel free to break it out and take a look how close the "internet" button is to all the other normal function buttons.

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.