The Federal Communications Commission ended a 10-month long investigation into false business practices at Verizon Wireless this week when the company agreed to pay a record $25 million fine to settle charges that it wrongly charged customers "mystery Internet fees" for several years. The wireless provider will also refund a total of $52.8 million to roughly 15 million customers.
According to The Washington Post, Verizon admitted charging the subscribers "a couple of bucks" for Internet overages when they accidentally tripped the browsers on their phones, even though they had not signed up for data services and had not intended to use them. In an FCC statement, Chairman Julius Genachowski said:
People shouldn't find mystery fees when they open their phone bills -- and they certainly shouldn't have to pay for services they didn't want and didn't use. In these rough economic times, every $1.99 counts.
The settlement comes as the agency is looking into the feasibility ofrequiring wireless providers to alert customers when they have reached their monthly limits for voice, text and data use. The FCC proposed rules to prevent such "bill shock" earlier this month.