Verizon to Refund 15 Million Customers for Bad Data Charges

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Just about every Verizon Wireless phone is capable of accessing web data but unless your monthly service plan has a special data package added to it, you’ll pay $2 per megabyte to get online.

According to a recent statement from Verizon, “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.”

As a result, the company will be crediting affected users’ bills over the next two months or sending refund checks out to former customers. Most refunds are expected to be “in the $2 to $6 range.”

The New York Times reports that “the F.C.C. has received hundreds of complaints from Verizon Wireless customers” about the erroneous data charges over the past three years.

Verizon’s statement goes on to say the following:

“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.”

That’s at least $30 million paid out, though the Times cites “people close to the settlement talks” as saying Verizon expects total payouts to be around $50 million when the dust settles.

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