A few weeks ago we reported that Verizon has wrongly charged 15 million customers somewhere in the neighborhood of 90 million dollars in total. We figured that if Verizon was even admitting it then that meant that the FCC was probably breathing down their necks. Today Verizon announced that they had settled with the FCC to the tune of $25 million dollars.
Verizon acknowledged that the FCC originally contacted them about this issue in September 2009, but it took almost another year for them to figure out the extent of the problem and publicly acknowledge it. In their settlement with the FCC, Verizon agreed to a voluntary payment of $25 million to the U.S. Treasury even though they insist that the inaccurate billing was inadvertent. The settlement also acknowledges the fact that they we will reimburse about 15 million current and former customers who may have been mistakenly billed. The company will spend $52.8 million to reimburse those customers. Verizon will also provide targeted information about data usage and tracking to new and existing customers, in both English and Spanish; establish a special internal team to track, identify and address customer data usage complaints; and provide additional training on data charge and credit issues to all of our customer-facing customer care employees.
Verizon says that they have already began the process of repaying the affected customers, so you might just have a check from Verizon in the mail or a credit to your account. They are notifying eligible current and former customers that they are applying credits to their accounts or sending refunds in October and November. Current customers will be notified in upcoming bills; former customers will receive a letter and refund check in the mail. In most cases, these credits and refunds are in the $2 to $6 range; some will receive larger amounts.
So originally some thought the cost to Verizon could be as much as 90M but it looks like it will be more in the 75 to 80 million range, so guess they still saved money. My question to you is do you think the $25 million dollar fine is enough or should the FCC have hit them harder? How does a company as big as Verizon not notice this for so many years? Talk to us, leave your thoughts in the comments.