Feeds

Verizon to refund $30-$90m in 'mystery fees'

As FCC investigation continues

Business security measures using SSL

Verizon will refund between $30 and $90 million to customers for "mystery fees" charged to their wireless accounts — but the US Federal Communications Commission says that the paybacks won't end their investigation into the US's largest wireless provider's billing practices.

"As we reviewed customer accounts," said Verizon counsel Mary Coyne when announcing the payback Sunday, "we discovered that over the past several years approximately 15 million customers who did not have data plans were billed for data sessions on their phones that they did not initiate."

According to Coyne, "The majority of the data sessions involved minor data exchanges caused by software built into their phones; others included accessing certain web links, which should not have incurred charges."

The 15 million overcharged customers will receive credits on their October or November bills of between $2 and $6 apiece; customers who are no longer on a Verizon plan will get refund checks for the appropriate amount. Coyne did note, however, that "some will receive larger credits or refunds."

"The FCC Enforcement Bureau began looking into this matter ten months ago after reports from consumers about these mystery fees," said FCC enforcement bureau chief Michele Ellison in a statement.

"We're gratified to see Verizon agree to finally repay its customers," Ellison said. "[But[ questions remain as to why it took Verizon two years to reimburse its customers and why greater disclosure and other corrective actions did not come much, much sooner."

And Verizon isn't off the hook quite yet. "The Enforcement Bureau will continue to explore these issues," said Ellison, "including the possibility of additional penalties, to ensure that all companies prioritize the interests of consumers when billing problems occur."

Verizon may not be alone in its dip into FCC hot water — The Washington Post reports that the commission declined to comment about whether its investigation was also targeting AT&T, T-Mobile, and Sprint. ®

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk

More from The Register

next story
Brit telcos warn Scots that voting Yes could lead to HEFTY bills
BT and Co: Independence vote likely to mean 'increased costs'
Phones 4u slips into administration after EE cuts ties with Brit mobe retailer
More than 5,500 jobs could be axed if rescue mission fails
New 'Cosmos' browser surfs the net by TXT alone
No data plan? No WiFi? No worries ... except sluggish download speed
Radio hams can encrypt, in emergencies, says Ofcom
Consultation promises new spectrum and hints at relaxed licence conditions
Blockbuster book lays out the first 20 years of the Smartphone Wars
Symbian's David Wood bares all. Not for the faint hearted
Bonking with Apple has POUNDED mobe operators' wallets
... into submission. Weve squeals, ditches payment plans
This flashlight app requires: Your contacts list, identity, access to your camera...
Who us, dodgy? Vast majority of mobile apps fail privacy test
Apple Watch will CONQUER smartwatch world – analysts
After Applelocalypse, other wristputers will get stuck in
prev story

Whitepapers

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk
A single remote control platform for user support is be key to providing an efficient helpdesk. Retain full control over the way in which screen and keystroke data is transmitted.
WIN a very cool portable ZX Spectrum
Win a one-off portable Spectrum built by legendary hardware hacker Ben Heck
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Security and trust: The backbone of doing business over the internet
Explores the current state of website security and the contributions Symantec is making to help organizations protect critical data and build trust with customers.