Millions in refunds to be paid by Verizon

Millions in refunds to be paid by Verizon

In one of the largest customer refunds by a telecommunications company, Verizon Wireless said that it will pay up to $90 million in refunds to 15 million cellphone customers who were wrongly charged for data sessions or Internet use.

The announcement came in a statement from Verizon Wireless as the company held talks with the Federal Communications Commission in context to unauthorized charges and in response to questions about a possible settlement of an FCC investigation into the matter.


Verizon said in its statement that the customers would receive credits from $2 to $6 on their October or November bills or, in the case of former customers, refund checks.

The refunds will be paid to customers who did not have data access plans but who were nevertheless assessed one or more charges of $1.99 because of data exchanges initiated by software built into their phones, or because of charges for inadvertently going online on the phones.

The F.C.C. is likely to press Verizon to pay a penalty for failing to notify customers of the problem, which has been occurring since at least 2007, according to people close to the talks.

Michele Ellison, the chief of the F.C.C. enforcement bureau, said in a statement that the agency was “gratified to see the repayment, but for millions of Americans it’s a day late and a $1.99 short.”

“Getting consumers repaid is just the first step; ensuring this doesn’t happen again comes next,” Ms. Ellison said.

In the past, the company refused requests from its customers when asked to reverse the charges and even discouraged them from blocking the data service on their phones.

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