FCC slaps Verizon with largest fine in history for overcharging

verizon-wireless-moneybagVerizon is about to pay for the mysterious fees it has forced on its customers in recent years – pay $77.8 million, to be exact.

The FCC has slapped the largest fine in history on the company, to the tune of $25 million – in addition to the $52.8 million Verizon will be refunding its 15 million wrongly charged customers.

For the last 10 months, the FCC has been investigating the company for charging customers $1.99 a minute for data connections the user hadn’t approved. Many customers who subscribed only to voice services were being billed for data services they were not using. Additionally, websites Verizon stated to be free of charge for those using the carrier were wrongly advertised and did indeed charge a fee – one of them being Verizon’s own mobile homepage.

“We accept responsibility for those errors, and apologize to our customers who received accidental charges on their bills,” the company stated in a press release.

The multimillion dollar fine should serve as a signal from the FCC that spurious charges will not be tolerated, and that the commission has every intention of protecting consumer rights. Other service providers should take heed of the warning, as the FCC may soon propose regulations requiring carriers to report when users’ are in danger of exceeding their monthly limits.

As far as to how this even happened, Verizon reported it was a system error that caused the erroneous charges.

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