Verizon to Pay $77 Million in FCC ‘Mystery Fees’ Investigation

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You may recall a post earlier in the month concerning some 15 million Verizon customers being charged between $2 and $6 each for “data sessions on their phones that they did not initiate.”

After receiving hundreds of complaints, the FCC decided to investigate the “mystery fees” and today announced that Verizon would have to pay $25 million to the U.S. Treasury and “a minimum of $52.8 million” to the 15 million customers affected by the fees.

According to the FCC’s press release:

“The Enforcement Bureau began investigating Verizon Wireless in January 2010 after large numbers of consumer complaints and press reports about unexplained data charges. The investigation focused on ‘pay-as-you-go’ data fees — charges of $1.99 per megabyte that apply to Verizon Wireless customers who do not subscribe to a data package or plan.”

FCC Enforcement Bureau Chief, Michelle Ellison said,

“Today‚Äôs settlement requires Verizon Wireless to make meaningful business reforms, prevent future overcharges, and provide consumers clear, easy-to-understand information about their choices. I am gratified by the cooperation of the Verizon Wireless team in the face of these issues, and pleased they are taking the high road.”

Verizon has agreed to immediately repay affected customers and will “take affirmative steps to prevent future unauthorized data charges.” Customers who believe they’ve been overcharged but don’t receive refunds can file an appeal, which must be resolved within 30 days.

Complete information in the press release found after the jump.

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