Verizon Throws Millions at Mystery Data Fee Furor
Verizon Wireless says that it will refund customers millions of dollars after being hit with a scandal about a mystery data fee on monthly mobile bills.
The Basking Ridge, N.J.-based operator says that it will credit or refund around 15 million customers charges in the $2 to $6 range, although some will receive more monies. The operator could pay out up to $50 million in refunds. (See Verizon Wireless to Issue 15M Refunds .)
The operator says that it has surveyed customer accounts and found that millions of customers without data plans were actually billed for data sessions on their phones that they did not initiate.
"The majority of the data sessions involved minor data exchanges caused by software built into their phones; others involved accessing the Web, which should not have incurred charges," says Mary Coyne, deputy general counsel for Verizon Wireless. "We have addressed these issues to avoid unintended data charges in the future."
Nonetheless, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) says that it will look into what happened with the billing issue. The regulatory agency says it started looking into the matter 10 months ago and is happy to see that Verizon will refund customers. (See FCC Probes Verizon Wireless Mystery Fee .) "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," Michele Ellison, FCC enforcement bureau chief, said in a statement.
— Dan Jones, Site Editor, Light Reading Mobile