Verizon Wireless has been issuing refunds to customers who were mistakenly charged $1.99 for mobile broadband access they say they didn't use.
According to an Associated Press report, Verizon believes the problem to be nationwide, although a Verizon spokesman did not clarify how widespread the problem is to FierceWireless.
The problem became known in a Cleveland Plain Dealer column, which subsequently drew comments from readers who detailed their own problems of being charged $1.99. In some cases, "customers were charged when their phones were off, the batteries were dead, the phone's Internet access was blocked or even when the phones didn't have the software to go online," according to the paper.
Verizon spokesman Tom Pica told FierceWireless that the carrier has been "crediting customers for unintentional data charges as customers bring the 'error' to our attention." He said that the biggest culprit was customers mistakenly activating the Internet on their handsets, sometimes without knowing it.
"This is where we need to do a better job explaining to the customer when they buy our service how and when they will be charged for data; at the same time we need to improve the usability of data services so mistakes aren't made," he said. He added that customers may mistakenly access the Internet and then immediately end the session--an action that could cause the $2 charge.
"It is obvious to us that we need to fix this aspect of our service, but in the meantime we are gladly crediting customers if this happens to them," he said.
- see FierceWireless
Verizon to pay $1.5M settlement over 'free' ringtones
Survey: Unbilled data charges top revenue loss concerns