Over six years ago, Maryland kicked off an investigation that looked at Verizon’s high-speed fiber network, FiOS. Fast forward to today, and it looks like thousands of Maryland FiOS customers could expect some money in the near future, as Big Red decided to settle, reports The Baltimore Sun.
The investigation arose from customer complaints pertaining to Big Red’s refusal to honor promotional items, such as televisions and gift cards. In addition, Verizon did not notify FiOS customers about installation fees and charged early termination fees when a household was unhappy with the service. According to spokesman Harry Mitchell, Verizon has improved FiOS since its inception back in 2008.
“While Verizon’s advertising practices complied with all laws and regulations, it’s in the best interest of all parties for us to resolve this long-running matter so that we may continue our focus on providing Maryland consumers with a superior product and a good customer experience,” said Mitchell.
The deal has Verizon paying $1.375 million to Maryland customers who, according to the state’s Consumer Protection Division, either were improperly charged termination fees or paid for “inadequately disclosed” equipment that was necessary to take advantage of FiOS. Under the terms of the deal, Verizon will advertise its service costs more accurately, provide concise information about its subscriptions, and give customers more cancellation rights if they find that the first few bills do not reflect the orders they made. Finally, if similar complaints are made in the future, Verizon will take part in Maryland’s mediation and arbitration programs.
All in all, attorney general Douglas Gansler seems pretty happy with the settlement. “Verizon’s activities when it was rolling out FiOS established it as one of our office’s biggest complaint generators,” said Gansler. “I’m pleased that Verizon is changing its marketing practices to accurately reflect the total cost of its services and that a significant number of consumers will receive restitution as a result of this agreement.”
Current and former FiOS customers are eligible to get a piece of the pie, though FiOS is only available in Anne Arundel, Baltimore, Harford, Howard, Montgomery, Prince George’s, and Charles counties.