In one of the largest refunds that a telco has had to deliver, Verizon will refund up to $90 million to 15 million of their customers.
Basically, the FCC received a heap of complaints from customers who had never actively used their phone to access data, but had been charged for it.
Turns out that there were some phones that were using a small amount of data in the background, or that customers were accidentally pressing the browser button on their phone, which would suck down data even if they immediately cancelled the action. If said customer didn’t have a data plan, they were then charged the $1.99/MB data fee.
This has been happening since at least 2007, and, in that time, Verizon have refused to give refunds, and often discouraged customers from disabling data entirely, the New York Times reports. To try and discourage other operators from letting charges like this slip out to their customers, the FCC are likely to charge Verizon a penalty.
In a statement on their website, Verizon have said that the refunds will typically range from $2 to $6, and will appear as a credit on an affected customer’s October or November bill. Those customers that have left Verizon will receive a cheque (yes, I’m Australian) in the mail.