Verizon To Pay $1 Million To Customers After Falsely Advertising Data Plans As "Unlimited"

According to NY Attorney General Andrew Cuomo, Verizon Wireless has agreed to reimburse $1 million to customers for wrongful account termination after falsely advertising their wireless plans as “unlimited,” when in fact the company sets limits and terminates the accounts of heavy users.

Cuomo’s investigation found that Verizon marketed the plans as “unlimited,” when in fact common uses such as downloading movies and playing games were prohibited.

Rather than offering unlimited internet service, Verizon abruptly cut off users who reached a undisclosed usage limit. These users were not able to use their accounts and were not offered refunds.

“This settlement sends a message to companies large and small answering the growing consumer demand for wireless services. When consumers are promised an ‘unlimited’ service, they do not expect the promise to be broken by hidden limitations,” said Attorney General Andrew Cuomo. “Consumers must be treated fairly and honestly. Delivering a product is simply not enough – the promises must be delivered as well.”

According to the AG’s office Verizon terminated over 13,000 customers nationwide for “excessive” use of its “unlimited” service.

Verizon has agreed to reimburse all users nationwide for the cost of their wireless cards and will pay $150,000 in fines to New York State. They also stated, “Verizon Wireless fully and voluntarily cooperated with the Office of the Attorney General throughout this inquiry. Since April of 2007, Verizon Wireless has voluntarily ceased cutting off customers based on their data usage and no longer prohibits common internet uses.”

VERIZON WIRELESS AGREES TO SETTLE DECEPTIVE MARKETING INVESTIGATION
[NY AG](Thanks, Lisa!)
(Verizon Face By: chickee510)

Comments

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  1. Ickypoopy says:

    Verizon is paying out for its shadow limitations. When will Comcast do the same for the phantom bandwith caps on their services?

  2. edrebber says:

    Taking money under false pretenses is a felony. Verizon is getting off easy by only having to refund the money they stole from customers. Look for Cuomo to become a member of the Verizon board of directors when he retires from public life.

  3. howie_in_az says:

    @Ickypoopy: Not to mention blocking specific protocols.

  4. liquisoft says:

    Does anyone else feel an impulse to throw objects into that guys gaping “verizon face?”

  5. dandd says:

    Verizon has to be the worst phone company on the planet. Years ago I had an account with them and signed up for something like $35 a month. My bills all ranged from $135 to $0.85 each month. The only price my bill NEVER totalled was $35.

    Verizon is the only company I gladly paid to break out of the contract. Sprint has been a dream compared to them.

    I’m glad they are being forced to pay, the term Unlimited is misleading to the customer and obviously meant to deceive.

  6. Caine36 says:

    Wait, doesn’t comcast do the exact same thing?

  7. velho says:

    Did you notice the weasley closing statement from Verizon? Please define “common” Verizon. Is watching movies or playing games “common”?

    From Verizon’s EVDO TOS (what it used to be at least):

    [www.consumeraffairs.com]

    Under the heading, “Unlimited NationalAccess/Broadband Access,” the brochure states, “� data sessions may be used with wireless devices for the following purposes: (i) Internet browsing; (ii) email; and (iii) intranet access. � services cannot be used: (1) for uploading, downloading or streaming of movies, music or games; (2) with server devices or with host computer applications, including, but not limited to, Web camera posts or broadcasts, automatic data feeds, Voice over IP (VoIP), automated machine-to-machine connections, or peer-to-peer (P2P) file sharing.”

    I’m not so sure they changed jack.

  8. krunk4ever says:

    @Caine36: probably no one has decided to try to sue Comcast yet. that day will come though.

  9. TPK says:

    @edrebber: I guess those of us who actually provide the goods and/or services that we “sell” to our customers are just in the wrong business. I wish I could figure out how to get into a business where I “sell” stuff, but then don’t have to actually provide what I sell to the customer! Just like the article a few days ago about airline overbooking… apparently they not only overbook, but also sell confirmed seats to more than one person!

    [consumerist.com]

    Why is that not fraud as well?

  10. timmus says:

    Alrighty, let’s see… Verizon revenue $90 billion… revenue (take home pay) of average joe is $40K… $90B/$1M = $40K/x, so x = 44 cents. This is like 44 cents to the average Joe! I’m sure this “costly” fine will teach Verizon.

  11. mconfoy says:

    Time to sick Cuomo on Comcast? I am glad he is keeping up the Spritzer tradition here. These are things that worry me about getting Verizon’s FIOS, but then I have Comcast now. Help!

  12. Baz says:

    Why on earth does New York State get to keep the fine money? Shouldn’t it be awarded to the 13,000 customers as damages? Looks like New York State is just about as greedy as Verizon – they used the plaintiffs in this case for their own financial gain, just as Verizon did.

  13. noquarter says:

    Can we please try to keep straight the difference between Verizon and Verizon Wireless? They are separate corporate entities, and yet the article summary uses them interchangeably.

    This story is about Verizon Wireless. It has as much to do with Verizon as it does with Vodafone.

  14. rhombopteryx says:

    @Baz:
    Umm, because it’s a fine? Do you pay a speeding ticket to the minivans you passed or to the police/court?
    Accoridng to the post, VZ Wireless is also refunding customers. This is an additional fine – a penalty. Breaking the law should carry a penalty, no? Employing the investigators and attorneys necessary to investigate and prosecute isn’t free, funding these kind of investigations with fines is a good thing. Enforcing the law doesn’t make the NY Attorney General’s office greedy, it means they’re doing their job.

  15. himsgirlred says:

    I was so disappointed in Verizon’s wireless air card service! I travel on tour and was really looking forward to not having to deal with looking for hotspots when I was in the middle of BFI somewhere! Coverage was certainly never the problem(Yeah!) IT’S WHAT THE COVERAGE COST ME!!!!
    My happy little 59.99, 5G service turned into $3000.00!!

    I did the whole dance on the customer service phone conversation; and Verizon would remove the eccessive byte
    fees as a COURTESY, but I still needed to pay the cancellation fee, plus a slew of other nondiscript fees!

    I don’t think that’s very courteous in my book!

    What would be COURTEOUS,would be honestly providing good
    service for a fair price!

    No longer wireless…hooked up to my AT&T DSL Internet…
    where I can do what everyday people do on the internet
    24/7 for $24.00 a month! Ahhhhhhhhhhh!