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What You Should Know About The Verizon Wireless / FCC Consent Decree

On October 28, 2010, the FCC’s Enforcement Bureau and Verizon Wireless entered into an agreement to settle the FCC’s investigation into allegations of unauthorized data charges on Verizon Wireless customers’ bills.  The charges at issue were for consumers who did not have a data package or data plan, and were therefore charged at a rate of $1.99 per megabyte (MB) of data used. Here’s what consumers should know:

What Verizon Wireless Is Going To Do For Consumers:

  • Issue approximately $52.8 million in refunds or credits to its customers, both current and former, who may have been incorrectly billed $1.99 per MB for data usage.
  • Improve customer service by training its Customer Service Employees to ensure that they can fully and accurately answer customers’ questions and resolve complaints about data usage charges, and about the credits and refunds being issued.
  • Establish a “Data Charge Task Force” that will, among other things, resolve certain data charge complaints and ensure that Customer Service Employees are made aware of any widespread data charge billing issues.
  • Provide its customers with plain-language information about data charges through bill inserts, welcome letters, online bill messages, and an online bill tutorial.  This information will be available in Spanish as well as English.

What You Can Do If You Think You Were Overcharged:

  • If you are (or were since November 2007) a $1.99 per MB customer and believe you were improperly billed, look for a credit on your bill or a refund check in the mail during the October 2010 or November 2010 billing cycles.
  • If you believe you should have received a credit or refund that you didn’t get, you may contact Verizon Wireless. You can reach Verizon wireless at (800) 922-0204, dial *611 from your cell phone, or online at verizonwireless.com. At your request, Verizon will review your past data usage to determine whether you are entitled to a credit or refund.
  • If you contact Verizon Wireless and are not satisfied with the company’s initial response, you can ask Verizon Wireless to escalate your complaint to the company’s Data Charge Task Force (created pursuant to the settlement with the FCC). If you continue to be unsatisfied after the Data Charge Task Force has reviewed your complaint, you may file a complaint with the FCC. Go to our Consumer Help Center for more information or contact us at 1-888-CALL-FCC (TTY: 1-888-TELL FCC).

Where You Can Get More Information:

A complete copy of the Consent Decree can be found on our website.