Verizon refunds customers for billing mistakes

Verizon Wireless has said it will refund up to $90 million to 15 million mobile customers who were accidentally charged for data downloads.

The mobile giant has said it will give these customers between $2 to $6 of credit on their October or November bills, while ex customers will get refund checks. Some luckier customers will receive bigger amounts, however Verizon would not say how much.

Customers affected were those who did not have data usage plans, but were accidentally charged because of software built into their phones which mistakenly informed Verizon of surfing habits.

In a statement it said: “As we reviewed customer accounts, 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.

“These customers would normally have been billed at the standard rate of $1.99 per megabyte for any data they chose to access from their phones. 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. We have addressed these issues to avoid unintended data charges in the future.”

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) started investigating claims that this was happening 10 months ago, when it received complaints from people regarding the ‘mystery’ fees.

As a result sources claim that the FCC is also pushing Verizon to agree to a penalty for the unauthorised charges.

Mary Coyne, deputy general counsel at Verizon Wireless said: “Verizon Wireless issues credits to customers from time to time based on regular review and monitoring”.

She added that whenever there was a mistake, the company tried its best to resolve the issue as early as possible – how many times have we heard ’em say that?

Verizon had better watch its back as the FCC will be keeping a close eye on its practices.