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FCC's Clyburn urges further scrutiny of Verizon overcharges


Federal Communications Commission member Mignon Clyburn said Monday that Verizon's refund to customers for surprise data charges were not enough to ease scrutiny over the company's billing practices.

In a statement Monday evening, Democratic commissioner Clyburn said Verizon Wireless's admission of erroneously charging customers for data services they didn't sign up for seemed to contradict earlier statements that the company made to her and the agency's enforcement bureau.

"Given the magnitude of the problem that Verizon Wireless revealed yesterday, we must quickly get to the heart of what happened, when, and why," Clyburn said. She said the company was notified more than two years ago about errors in charging customers for data services caused by a software glitch and when customers accidentally launched their Web browsers on their cell phones.

Verizon said Sunday that those actions resulted in $2 to $6 in erroneous charges to 15 million of its customers -- or one out of six of its subscribers. The nation's largest cell phone service provider said it would refund those customers more than $50 million over the next two months. Former customers would get checks in the mail; current customers would get credits to their accounts.

Clyburn said the enforcement bureau should probe why the company's comments from last December to the FCC contrast with its recent statement announcing the refunds.

"The company’s initial response to public reports of the phantom fees was that it does not charge consumers for accidental launching of the web browser. Yesterday’s announcement clearly requires further explanation," Clyburn said, adding that consumers need steps to ensure that similar overcharges don't occur again.

Photo: Mignon Clyburn
Credit: newsrecord.org

By Cecilia Kang  | October 5, 2010; 7:00 AM ET
Categories:  Consumers, FCC, Verizon  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Comcast-NBC Universal merger review hits FCC speed bump
Next: More monitoring of billing practices sought after Verizon overcharge

Comments

The refund comes after a 10-month Federal Communications Commission’s investigation into what it called Verizon’s “mystery fees,” which affected over 15 million subscribers. The investigation follows closely on the heels of a May FCC investigation into “bill shock” or the unexplainable rise in cell phone bills. At the time of the bill shock survey, the CTIA, a lobbying association of wireless providers that includes Verizon Wireless, said the survey was off base. This should leave the FCC asking, which other carriers are over charging customers?

Read more: http://bit.ly/a0ByhV

Posted by: mlschafer | October 5, 2010 12:13 PM | Report abuse

The FCC is totally blinded by the RBOC'S they allow them to bend the rules or should I say break them to suit their needs.
We need more like Migon Clyburn she stands her ground and defends what she see's as the truth. Julius Gen is spineless when it comes to standing up to the corporations. Goodness should he provide a negative decision against the RBOC'S any of them. Ask him why he is not enforcing the Waiver order against Verizon they cheated the public and smaller corporations why because Julius is frightened to go against them

Posted by: rmaro2 | October 5, 2010 1:01 PM | Report abuse

i am ibrahim, I been crying loud for two years, wrote to FCC,State commision, talk
wrote to my sentars now FCC said huston we have a problem.i did told those federal
Agancies but, they wont listen

let see what they going to do with this "Verizon" Bad billing Practices

as we speak verizon is still the same.

Posted by: jsbolusa | October 6, 2010 4:15 PM | Report abuse

Companies constantly engage in as much of this type of conduct as they can before the government gets wise and tells them to stop. This trend will only go away if the government commits to prosecuting officials for this sort of thing. White-collar crime is almost never enforced, which is why abuse of the system by the powerful runs rampant. If the greatest possible punishment were a little more drastic than simply being told to stop (and perhaps having to pay a drop-in-the-bucket fine), companies would act a lot more responsibly.

Posted by: GiovanniRuss | October 7, 2010 2:00 PM | Report abuse

Companies constantly engage in as much of this type of conduct as they can before the government gets wise and tells them to stop. This trend will only go away if the government commits to prosecuting officials for this sort of thing. White-collar crime is almost never enforced, which is why abuse of the system by the powerful runs rampant. If the greatest possible punishment were a little more drastic than simply being told to stop (and perhaps having to pay a drop-in-the-bucket fine), companies would act a lot more responsibly.

Posted by: GiovanniRuss | October 7, 2010 2:00 PM | Report abuse

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