I’ve been a Verizon Wireless customer for many years, with multiple family phones sharing monthly minutes.
And now, it turns out, the billing has also been inaccurate — to put it charitably.
During the past few years, I’ve noticed the same monthly $1.99 data charge on my son’s phone line. He uses a basic phone for texting and talking. Nothing else. No smartphone features at all. Yet I kept seeing extra data charges on my bill. I’d ask him the same questions every month: “Did you do anything different on your phone — use the web, purchase a ringtone, etc. to generate this charge?” The answer would always be the same: No.
Although Verizon’s charge was small, I didn’t think I should pay for something I didn’t order. So I would call Verizon Wireless customer service — wade through their telephone system — and inquire about the charge. They would always ask the same questions: “Did your son use the phone for data?” No. “Maybe he did it accidentally?” No.
Then they’d say: “You know, some of the buttons on the phone are pre-programmed to access the web.” What? Why would you do that if web data service is not enabled on his account??
Now I know. Verizon Wireless has agreed to refund customers between $30 million and $90 million for these billing overcharges!
Verizon Wireless has not (yet) admitted any wrongdoing — only billing errors. The matter is still being investigated by the F.C.C.
I welcome and appreciate the F.C.C.’s involvement. And for those people who are against all government regulation, THIS is exactly why we need it. Industry cannot be trusted to regulate itself.
I’ll be waiting for my check.