Verizon Wireless had somehow been charging customers extra money on their bills for data that they actually hadn’t been using. Approximately 15 million customers were affected by the erroneous billing error. According to BGR the FCC had been pressuring Verizon to resp0nd to the hundreds of complaints that had been piling up. So Verizon’s answer was to refund all of the overcharged money as soon as possible.
According to LapTopMag.com one of the reasons for this data usage is Verizons placement of the shortcut keys that access the mobile web or getitnow features on the phone. Were not saying this is the exact cause of the overage charges but it is likely. Laptopmag said this:
“They configure the phones to have multiple easily hit keystrokes to launch ‘Get it now’ or ‘Mobile Web’—usually a single key like an arrow key. […] We cancel these unintended requests as fast as we can hit the End key, but it doesn’t matter; they’ve told me that ANY data–even one kilobyte–is billed as 1MB. The damage is done.”
Here is a statement from Verizon on the issue:
Verizon Wireless values our customer relationships and we always want to do the right thing for our customers.
In October and November, we are notifying about 15 million customers, through their regular bill messages, that we are applying credits to their accounts due to mistaken past data charges. We will mail former customers refund checks. In most cases, these credits are in the $2 to $6 range; some will receive larger credits or refunds.
As we reviewed customer accounts, we discovered that over the past several years approximately 15 million customers who did not have data plans were billed for data sessions on their phones that they did not initiate. These customers would normally have been billed at the standard rate of $1.99 per megabyte for any data they chose to access from their phones. The majority of the data sessions involved minor data exchanges caused by software built into their phones; others involved accessing the web, which should not have incurred charges. We have addressed these issues to avoid unintended data charges in the future.
Verizon Wireless issue credits to customers from time to time based on regular review and monitoring. When we identify errors, we remedy them as quickly as possible. Our goal is to maintain our customers’ trust and ensure they receive the best experience possible.