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It has been a long time coming, by one report, at least two years. On Sunday, it was announced that Verizon Wireless had reached a settlement with the Federal Communications Commission over improper charges for data usage to customers who did not in fact have a data usage plan. The phone company has agreed to pay a total of $90 million to consumers who were mistakenly charged. The Verizon refunds will go out to about 15 million customers and will total between $2 and $6 per person.
The company will send the refund to current customers in the form of refunds in their October and November bills; former customers will receive checks, reports CNET. According to a statement from Verizon Deputy General Counsel Mary Coyne, the company says some of the mistaken charges were due to a glitch in the software built into the phones, others were due to customers accessing the web, which should not have incurred a charge. Verizon customers were charged the standard rate of $1.99 per megabyte of data. The company says the issues have been addressed and there will be no future improper charges for data.
The Associated Press reports the FCC has confirmed it has been investigating complaints from customers for years. "We're gratified to see Verizon agree to finally repay its customers," FCC Enforcement Bureau Chief Michele Ellison said in a statement. However, there are other questions as to why it has taken Verizon so long to correct the issues that caused the incorrect charges and to reimburse customers for the charges they never should have incurred in the first place.
The FCC will continue its investigation of those questions, including the possibility of additional penalties, Ellison said told the AP.