Verizon Will Refund False Data Charges To 15 Million Customers

It stings enough to pay inflated monthly charges to cell phone companies, but it’s far worse when your device doesn’t let you access the network you’re paying for.

With absurdities such as this in mind, Verizon is pacifying customer complaints by paying back $90 million to 15 million customers who were billed for unnecessary data packages. In a press release, Verizon says customers can expect the credits — which will be between $2 and $6 for most customers — this month or next.

In the release, Verizon says some of the mistaken charges were due to faulty software in phones or accessing certain web links, and that it’s fixed the problems.

Verizon Wireless Issuing Credits To Customers [Verizon via Engadget]

Previously: Verizon Treats My Dumb Phone Like A Smart Phone, Requires Useless Data Package


Edit Your Comment

  1. Working for the man, he pays well. says:

    15million customers x 1.99 fee x 12 months = 358,200,000 – 90,000,000 = 268,200,000 profit.

    That seems fair.

    • Maximus Pectoralis says:

      It wasn’t a monthly recurring charge. Customers would randomly get charged if they accidentally hit the “mobile web” button, even if they cancelled the action immediately. Verizon made money off of people accidentally pressing the wrong key on the phone or selecting the wrong menu item. I think I lost something like $6 or $8 to this and they refused to refund it (which, among other things, is part of the reason why I now use T-Mobile)

  2. Verucalise (Est.February2008) says:

    “paying back $90 million to 15 million customers who were billed for unnecessary data packages.”

    It’s not unnecessary data packages… more like, customers who were billed for data USAGE that they in fact, did not use. Their phones/software had faulty designs which caused customers to inadvertantly press the internet button. In turn, they were charged $1.99 just for the pleasure of accidentally hitting a button. I am surely one of these, and look forward to my $2-$6 refund. (Although, I’m sure I was out more.)

    “It stings enough to pay inflated monthly charges to cell phone companies, but it’s far worse when your device doesn’t let you access the network you’re paying for.

    And what does this mean, Phil? I am confused. If anything, they were making the network TOO easily accessible, so they could become charge happy.

    • Anonymously says:

      I’ve done that before, though not on Verizon. They should just label the button “IT’S A TRAP!”

    • Mobius says:

      The placement of that button and the fact that pressing it gave Verizon money wasn’t accidental at all. They are only giving the money back because the government caught on to and started investigating their little racket.

      • Verucalise (Est.February2008) says:

        Absolutely. Those poor CS reps who weren’t in on the scam… I can’t imagine working for VZW and fielding hundreds of calls a day from people who accidentally hit that button. Their jobs being on the line if they refunded too many people, or getting some serious tongue lashes and obscenities from those denied refunds from a truly wrong business practice.

        My poor sister being one of them. Her phone was designed, even when LOCKED, to be able to access the internet. She called Vzw, begged them to remove the charges, asked for a different phone, asked them to remove internet access from her account… only to see a $50 rogue charge the next month from her phone randomly turning on the internet. Makes me sick.

    • leprechaunshawn says:

      I can understand how placement could cause someone to inadvertently press a button, but what does the software have to do with it?

      • Verucalise (Est.February2008) says:

        The software on the phone was designed so you were unable to lockout internet, or change your quick key access to avoid the accidental charges. If you did accidentally press the button and cancel it immediately, the software claimed it connected when it hadn’t, triggering a charge. (At least, that’s what I think happened since my phone would say “connecting” without actually connecting. I would cancel it way before it connected, but still incurred charges.)

  3. pandroid says:

    It sounds like the glitch was due to the particular software on a phone, which explains why so many verizon customers had repeat problems with being overbilled while others of us (myself included) never had a mystery charge appear.

  4. Extended-Warranty says:

    It’s more of a marketing campaign than anything else. Most people are only getting back a few dollars.

  5. ElleAnn says:

    Are they refunding the fees for accidentally pressing the browser button? I get charged every time I press the up button on my LG phone- even though I called Verizon and they supposedly deactivated web browsing.

    • moyawyvern says:

      I don’t know which LG phone you have, but on the last two that I had you could reassign the short cut keys (up, down, left and right) to take VCast and mobile web off of there. I am sure I got charged for hitting the wrong keys a couple of times before I changed where hitting that key sent me.

  6. zentec says:

    Too late Verizon; I opted to tolerate a much crappier network in order to get a handset and a network that isn’t rigged for gotcha billing mechanisms (well, not as much).

    Since I’m not a customer, I won’t be receiving a credit. But it will be the last money you’ll ever see from me.

    • Verucalise (Est.February2008) says:

      According to Verizon, if you were a customer during this phenomena, you will be receiving a check in the mail (regardless if you stayed a customer).

  7. RayanneGraff says:

    Awesome, I’m glad to see telcos being called on their bullshit like this. Sprint needs to be next though. I had them for years & kept getting huge bills every month that nobody could explain, but that every rep swore were valid. They would sometimes even double-bill me & claim that it was ‘policy’ to bill people for 2 months at a time. Funny, if that were the case I shouldn’t be getting a double bill *every month*, right? A few years ago I had 3 lines with them and they had me on a separate $200 family plan for EACH LINE. Nobody could figure out how to fix it yet they STILL claimed the charges were legit!!! Assclowns. I wanna see Sprint go down so bad. Everyone I know gets fucked over by them. My boyfriend just switched to T-Mobile per my advice yesterday cause for the last few months his bill has been almost $100 more than it should be. They’re claiming he makes 30-minute international calls to Canada every month(not true) and as usual, “all charges are legitimate” & he now owes Sprint over $800.

    I switched to T-Mobile to get the HD2 back in April & I don’t miss $print at all. I can’t believe how much better the service is all around. I can actually get a signal now & every rep I’ve dealt with has spoken perfect english. I’ve gotten a couple mysterious charges on my bill & they removed them immediately without question.

    Wow sorry, that was a totally off-topic Sprint rant :/

    • leprechaunshawn says:

      And to offset your anecdotal evidence that Sprint sucks I can say that in 11 years with Sprint I’ve never had an illegitimate charge show up on my bill. Not a single dollar.

  8. JenOne says:

    AT&T should be hit with the SAME lawsuit!

    This is the same thing that used to happen with me with a phone on AT&T. I did not have a data plan, but the upper left button on this phone would “Connect to web” — it was right next to the CALL button on this phone so it was very easy to accidently hit it. There was NO WAY to turn it off or to change the button to do something else. So if you accidently hit it, no matter how fast you hit cancel, you would be hit with a $1.xx something charge on your account.

    I called customer service the first time it happened and got a credit. I asked if I could turn off data all together so it wouldn’t happen. I was told NO and that if I wanted to avoid the charge, I should simply get a data plan. So I checked my bill every single month and had to call each and every time it happened for a credit. Very annoying.

    I was credited for all the “mistakes” — but it took a phone call every time. How many people just let the charge go through or didn’t check their bills as throughly as I do, or simply couldn’t be bothered to call and listen to the ever annoying hold chatter while trying to get a $1.xx credit?

    I’m just saying…

  9. Spook Man says:

    Got hit with this the latest two months (two $5 charges).. Even though data to my phone has been disabled four months ago.. Don’t have it, don’t need it..

    Last month called and they said I checked my verizon e-mail or something.. Couldn’t get more info than that; no dates,times, etc. And, I don’t even have a verizon e-mail..

    Keep meaning to call this month and then this comes out..

  10. davidsco says:

    Of course, that’s why Verizon now FORCES data plans on customers. They got tired of refunding the charges THEY caused, either by PURPOSELY rigging the phones to easily attempt to access the Internet, or carelessly doing so

  11. RogerX says:

    Translation: “Faulty Software” = “Non-removable bloatware designed to sell ringtones and games on non-smartphones”

    Verizon is notorious for this.

  12. Eat The Rich -They are fat and succulent says:

    This was precisely the reason why I left Verizon.

    They cost me a hell of a lot more than 6 bucks.