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Refunds will go to 15M current and former customers  (Source: NYT)
Users will get about $6 each

Verizon Wireless is the largest of the major wireless carriers in the United States, and unfortunately, there have been some issues with data charges for many users going all the way back to 2007 reports The New York Times (NYT). Verizon has admitted that some of the data charges were made to customers in error and is set to refund some money to its users.

Verizon has stated that it will refund about 15 million mobile subscribers up to $90 million total for data charges that were inappropriately charged. The
NYT reports that this is the largest refund ever offered by a wireless carrier. Verizon has been in communication with the FCC and has issued a statement that claims the refunds will be in the $2 to $6 range for most subscribers and will be taken from their bill. Former Verizon customers will receive a check for the refund amount and some users could get more than the $6 amount. 

Verizon stated:

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 FCC might make Verizon pay a penalty for failing to tell customers before since the overcharges have been ongoing for years, despite many customer complaints about the issue. The FCC's Michael Ellision said, "[the FCC was] gratified to see the repayment, but for millions of Americans it’s a day late and a $1.99 short." Ellison also said the refunds were the first step and the next step was to be sure that the issue never happened again.

The FCC has stated that it has received hundreds of complaints from Verizon subscribers about data charges that occurred when their phone wasn’t in use or when they hit a button that accidentally launched the phone's web browser. Many wireless customers will be familiar with that browser launch issue and often the browser can’t be closed until it has downloaded data. Each of those accidental deployments, sometimes initiated by simply pressing the up arrow, would cost the user $1.99.

The
NYT quotes Verizon's Mary Coyne saying, "Verizon Wireless values our customer relationships, and we always want to do the right thing for our customers. When we identify errors, we remedy them as quickly as possible. Our goal is to maintain our customers’ trust and ensure they receive the best experience possible."

The formal FCC investigation into the data billing practice at Verizon started in January of this year.

Last week Verizon unveiled a new phone trade in program to lure more customers to the network.





"If a man really wants to make a million dollars, the best way would be to start his own religion." -- Scientology founder L. Ron. Hubbard
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