Verizon Wireless reportedly intends to pay millions of dollars in customer refunds to customers who were charged for unintended web access and/or data usage. Amounts vary by source. The Wall Street Journal pegs the total at about $50 million. Some have the total as high as $90 million.
Verizon says the charges occurred as a result of software on some phones, but apparently only decided to issue the refunds after the FCC started poking around. Matthew Lasar at Ars Technica quotes a statement from FCC Enforcement Bureau Chief Michele Ellison:
"We can confirm reports of an FCC investigation into mystery fees that appeared on Verizon Wireless bills costing over 15 million Americans tens of millions of dollars…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."
The company will notify affected customers of the charges and the forthcoming refunds over the next couple months, and they’ll receive $2 – $6 credits on their phone bills. Here’s Verizon’s official statement from Mary Coyne, General Counsel:
The story seems to indicate that it pays to complain. It certainly looks as if the FCC’s investigation (sparked by numerous customer complaints) is what got the ball rolling on these refunds.