It’s one of the largest refunds a telco has ever had to undertake. The $90 million will be spread amongst about 15 million current and former customers to cover overages for data charges to customers who did not have data plans, but were charged anyway.
The FCC has received thousands of complaints from customers since 2007 complaining of Verizon’s charges and refusal to refund. The telco has now succumbed to the pressure from the FCC and released a press release detailing how the overages will be refunded over the next month or so.
Most of the refunds will be in the $4 to $6 range for customers who received billings for the $1.99 charge associated with accessing data without a data plan on their account.
The problems arose when customers who had no data access plans on their accounts were charged for access when some phones’ built-in software attempted to access data or when browsers were opened accidentally or through other software. The New York Times reports that those customers who complained were discouraged from opting out of data entirely (blocking it) and were refused refunds.
Most of the refunds will be given as credits on a bill or, in the case of those who are no longer Verizon customers, a check in the mail. It’s also likely that Verizon will be assessed a fine by the FCC over the matter.
The FCC began their formal investigation into the overages in January.