Verizon Wireless announced today that they will pay $90 million in refunds to 15 million customers. The news comes as Verizon had been wrongly charging customers for data sessions and Internet use, which the Federal Communications Commission pointed out after hundreds of complaints.
For the last three years, the complaints to the FCC have been piling in from Verizon Wireless customers as they said they were being charged for data sessions and Internet at times when their phone wasn’t in use. Angry customers had complained as early as 2009 when the New York Times reported that complaints were being ignored by Verizon Wireless. Verizon had programmed phones to automatically launch a web browser upon a button push without any confirmation of data charges (e.g. "This Application requires a data plan" or similar).
In a statement by Verizon, the company said, "15 million customers either will receive either credits ranging from $2 to $6 on their October or November bills or, in the case of former customers, refund checks.”
Mary Coyne, deputy general counsel for Verizon Wireless also said, "Verizon Wireless values our customer relationships and we always want to do the right thing for our customers.”
Speculation has risen that the FCC has been pressuring Verizon to agree to pay a penalty for the unauthorized charges which would force companies in a similar situation to alert customers straight away.
The $90 million pay-out means that Verizon officially hold the trophy for one of the largest refunds from a telecom company.