via Wireless Week
Verizon slapped with lawsuit over $1.99 data charges
It was bound to happen some time with plenty of customers boiling over due to data charges on their monthly bills, but Verizon Wireless is being hit with a class-action lawsuit over its $1.99 data fees. Some feature phone customers allege that they've been improperly charged and have taken the matter to a higher authority – it comes three months after the FCC asked Big Red to respond to accusations surrounding the $1.99 charges that customers saw as they inadvertently accessed mobile web services on their non-smartphone device. The lawsuit was filed by Goldman Scarlato & Karon P.C. in a New Jersey federal court and aims to reimburse people and businesses for the erroneous $1.99 charges. Back in November, there was a New York Times articles that pointed out how Verizon's handsets were designed to purposely get customers to accidentally access the web on their mobile phones. Verizon fired back by stating the the home Web key on its handsets is prominently placed because it seems like it is a frequently used item among its subscribers. There are always two sides to every story – we'll see how it all ends up in the judicial system.
via Wireless Week
via Wireless Week
1. mthoren68 (Posts: 66; Member since: 21 Sep 2009)
This is dumb. People "accidentally" accessed the Web on their non-smartphones? More like they accessed the Web and didn't realize/thought they shouldn't have to pay for it. People just don't pay attention to what their plans provide or feel entitled to receive more. I hope this gets tossed.
3. xtroid2k (Posts: 515; Member since: 11 Jan 2010)
I coudn't agree more, when I worked for VZW CS people always called in and didn't realize the activities they were doing were mobile web related. However on he flip side; Verizon has supposedly made the first page of mobile web no chargable for data which does in my mind acknowledge they have a problem with accidental mobile web activation. I worked and VZW before they charged data and actually minutes and when it was accidentally ativiated it was a bitch because customers wanted minutes back. I am kinda glad somebody is sueing VZW cause they really do need ot address this overall issue.
35. breatheboy (Posts: 2; Member since: 04 Mar 2010)
I couldn't agree less. I'm pretty upset about the charges. Other's may "accidentally" access web on non-smartphones. I actually have multiple times because the button directly above my "ok" button goes directly to web access. I've pushed it before and see it go to the web and immediately push "end" because I don't want to be charged especially when I have no reason to look anything up on the web and don't even know how with this phone. I've searched for an hour looking for a way to change the quick settings and there is no way. I can't tell it to go to another a different short cut. I know you're thinking I'm some dumb-A that doesn't know how to use his phone. I invite you to come over to my house and show me how to correct this travisty. It's a Samsung phone that I think sucks big time anyway. It won't even remember words I try to install in text. Anyway, there are people who actually accidentally push the web button and try to get out of it right away and come away using 1 second of "web time" and get charged two bucks for it. It happend multiple months because I've got big hitch hiker thumbs. Should I blame my dad, Verizon or Canada?
37. HanfordStore (Posts: 18; Member since: 04 Mar 2010)
If someone says that they accidentally entered the web application, that is the biggest lie ever. This law suit is dumb, Verizon DOES NOT charge customers for accessing the web on accident, they actually have to access the web application, THEN FURTHER ON TO ANOTHER PAGE!!!!! THAT is when Verizon starts charging.
47. al metcalf (unregistered)
BullCRAP!!! I have been whacked with that fee several times. Every time I get a new phone and hit that stupid key. I immediately turn it off so I never actually bring up a web page but I still got whacked with a charge.
39. breatheboy (Posts: 2; Member since: 04 Mar 2010)
You obviously have a phone that allows you to change your quick button settings. I don't. It's a samsung. Don't ever buy a samsung. The quick push button to the web is located directly above the "ok" button. When I push ok to send a text and accidentally push this button instead, it goes directly to the web. I immediately push end because it was an accident. Did I happen to mention that it was an accident? It was! I have charges almost every month of $1.99 or more because of this. I actually accidentally push the button and get charged for accidentally using not even 1 second of air time. You also must have never been charged for this because you say you have to "THEN FURTHER ON TO ANOTHER PAGE!!!!! ". I'm very much on purpose telling you that you are wrong. Which is why the FCC is investigating all cell carriers for this crock. Also I live 30 miles from Canada. When I'm 5 miles from Canada and use my phone, I get charged roaming for this time. Do you think that I accidentally made a phone call in Canada when I had no intention of crossing the border? It is no accident that they put that button where they did. It is no accident that they charge me and you $1.99 because of a mistake. I don't live in a world where I can afford a smart phone. I don't use the web on the go. I use a simple phone because this is the what I can afford. I can't afford $1.99 extra per month.
40. jrfis (Posts: 5; Member since: 02 Mar 2010)
Hey breatheboy.. I totally agree with you because it happened to me plenty of times. So I don't listen to these people who think they know anything and everything about Verizon... because they don't know jack$hit. And for you people who think you HAVE to access the web, you're WRONG!!! What I do know is that because of all the complaints of people accidentally hitting the button and being charged, they no longer charge on the first page. And I have proof of that because in the past 4 months, I have hit the button accidentally and immediately clicked out of it and haven't gotten charged. However, last year, they charged IMMEDIATELY, whether you accessed anything or not.
42. guest (unregistered)
You guys are so wrong! I've been back to the Verizon store for FIVE MONTHS IN A ROW now, and I have NEVER accessed the web application! The other day, I was tying my shoes and my phone started playing some ad for Web TV. If I can pocket-dial the web application, this phone design is reprehensible!
43. yerWrong (unregistered)
You both are so wrong. The New York times reported in their investigation that by merly touching an arrow key and thereby starting a data transfer application you are charged $1.99 for the data downloaded (2kb) even if you hit end immediately. It's a total scam, illegal - no, unethical - yes. Verizon is enjoying the profits from the 87 million customers who are charged even once a month $1.99 more on their bills.
2. thetwiztidfreak (Posts: 19; Member since: 03 Aug 2009)
people always looking for something for free, this country really needs to set restrictions about frivaless lawsuits, EX. when mc donalds was sued because their COFFEE was to hot and burned some idiot. this is all in the same nature just want something for free
5. detroitbass (Posts: 2; Member since: 04 Feb 2010)
People should actually look up that lawsuit before using it as an example. They were sued because they had been warned several times previously that the coffee they were serving was way too hot to be served, and that they needed to lower the temperature. Sounds like a perfectly valid reason for suing them, actually. They were warned to lower the temp, they didn't do it, someone got burnt. I'd sue, too.
7. mthoren68 (Posts: 66; Member since: 21 Sep 2009)
Maybe you should look up some information before you post. Just people complain doesn't mean there is something wrong. You can't pleas everyone. By a wide majority, the people who were putting claims in were causing their own accidents. People would put their coffee cups in their laps while they drove, they had to squeeze to keep it in place, that caused teh lid to come loose. One guy propped his cup between his baby's leg and the side of the safety seat. People would add sugar to the coffee and not put the lid back on all the way. And btw, coffee is supposed to be hot. And McDonald's coffee was no hotter than Starbucks' is now. If you don't like how hot the coffee is, don't buy it. Millions of people make their own coffee (and tea) every day with boiling water, and if they spill on themselves, it's their fault. But if they spill McDonald's coffee, then it's McDonald's fault? You sound like the kind of dink who would sue the weather man if he was wrong about the weather and your picnic got ruined.
11. tallica05 (Posts: 93; Member since: 26 Dec 2009)
I agree the coffe bein' too hot is a lame analogy. People are warned in vzw's t&c that if you do those things you will be charged and mbs no matter how small. or in you case how hot it is it will roun to the nearest mb and you will be charged 1.99. So I bet this gets tossed aside. Good call out mthoren68...
17. ICanAffordVZW (Posts: 123; Member since: 15 Dec 2008)
And you are probably an unemployed dumb-ass in detroit michigan looking for some free money without having to earn it like the rest of us.
4. ILOVEtechnology (unregistered)
This is going to get tossed in the trash!
14. JackFace (Posts: 190; Member since: 03 Nov 2009)
Your mom is going to get tossed in the trash!
18. ICanAffordVZW (Posts: 123; Member since: 15 Dec 2008)
How about I toss your degree in the trash, jackface? Oh wait, you are a 16 year old HS dropout...
6. rehnhart (Posts: 103; Member since: 27 Mar 2009)
There is a lot of merit in this case. I have been with Verzion for two years and have had several cases of phantom data use. The flip phones are the worse in this for some reason. I guess this is why Verzion starting charging for data plans for just about every single "decent" phone they have. Personally, I still use my VPak plan for $15 a month with unlimited web. I learned my lesson and I guess Verizon will learn theirs or make people learn it for them.
8. testman22 (Posts: 338; Member since: 03 Nov 2009)
By the time you find a lawyer to support you and pay court fees and all the time it takes.... is it really worth the 2 bucks? jeez
9. mthoren68 (Posts: 66; Member since: 21 Sep 2009)
Another aspect of class actions is going for punitive damages and costs.
19. ICanAffordVZW (Posts: 123; Member since: 15 Dec 2008)
which is why lawsuits should not be granted punitive damages. its why your bills get higher and higher. VZW, like insurance companies will pass along that cost to you, the consumer, thanks to greedy ass lawyers.
10. Mateo8326 (Posts: 472; Member since: 15 Jul 2009)
Wow verizon been having alot of FCC issues it's a new year yall are on top of the wireless industry please get it 2gether thank you.
12. CrisTRON (Posts: 7; Member since: 02 Mar 2010)
It actually can happen by accident, my cousin is the owner of a voyager and it often goes on the web in her purse. If you don't have a data plan they should be able to shut that feature off on your phone. Don't you think?
13. Templer16 (Posts: 20; Member since: 09 Apr 2009)
Acutally this is a real complaint. I worked for VZW and I have seen a handful of times where customer didnt access the web but were charged anyways. How do I know?? We did a hard wipe on the handset to remove any and all apps, then proceded to remove the brew client on the brower so it wouldnt even load. A month later tada 1.99 fee! Now this is a very rare case only happen once or twice. But the main complaint for this is vzw has no way of tracking how the data was accessed or when. Its just on the acct and from a certain ESN so it has to been true. Personally if you are going to charge 90 mill plus a 1.99 you need to be able to pin point the charge. (just like they do for minutes)
15. vzwtechbill (Posts: 175; Member since: 16 Mar 2009)
That is not true. IP addresses are recorded for every data session. Biggest problem is most people stay within the mobile web, so it just shows VZW ip addresses. Not to mention we don't give out IP addresses without a subpeona, and certainly don't have time to dig through 100's of addresses to find out what you did with your phone. Get your facts straight, I can tell you exactly what you did on any given session given enough time.
32. Templer16 (Posts: 20; Member since: 09 Apr 2009)
Then how come I have never been able to have a tech answer where the data charge came from (app or browser) Lets just say youre right and vzw has the ability to pin point, if you refuse to give that info or dont have a way to effiecently look up said data its really null in void. SO my facts are straight based on my teir 3 says, now if teir 3 is made up of lazy liars( which it sounds like it might be) then my statement needs to be corrected but my point is still right. COMPLETE billing is required! IF you took your car to be fixed and you got the bill, you would want to know what it is for. "We just fix stuff" wouldnt be answer that would fly and thats what VZW has been getting away with
16. jrfis (Posts: 5; Member since: 02 Mar 2010)
Okay, so let me ask everyone a question... has no one accidentally pressed a button before? I'm not saying that anything is going to happen with this lawsuit, but I have had Verizon for the past 8 years, and the past year and a half I was charged $1.99 for at least 4 months. The problem is, for a majority of the people.. you hit the wrong button, and once it starts saying Connecting, your probably already clicking out of it. Not even ONE SECOND after it says Connecting, your charged $1.99. Now that is the reason I was charged, because I don't download music, and I personally don't need my phone for anything besides getting in contact with other people.
22. VZWtrainer (Posts: 50; Member since: 24 Jul 2008)
Oh come on why do people hold the wireless industry to such a different standard than they do EVERY other?!? If I "accidentally" download a pay-per-view movie from my cable provider, I must pay for it. If I go on vacation for 2 weeks and leave my air conditioning on the whole time, my power company certainly will not credit me for my "accidental" usage. Verizon Wireless offers options to block EVERY type of data that can result in these charges. People CHOOSE to not add the blocks because they WANT data (picture messaging, video messaging, internet, applications, etc.). The FCC is overstepping its jurisdiction like every government office has been doing lately. Why are they having an issue with VZW data fees when other industries have "accidental" charges that can happen? Why are they going after the ETF's the wireless companies are charging, when they are to recoup the subsidized price of your device? Dont they realize that other companies such as DirecTV and apartment and home leasing companies charge ETF's with no reason or prorations? You must be responsible with your phone, much like you are with your house, car, tv, kids, pets, and everything else that is a part of your life.
24. jrfis (Posts: 5; Member since: 02 Mar 2010)
Hmmm.. if that's not the stupiest question I've ever heard, then I don't know what is. I think I am on this site like everyone else is.
25. jrfis (Posts: 5; Member since: 02 Mar 2010)
And VZWtrainer... I think our cable providers make it a little harder to "accidentally" download a pay per view movie. They ask you at least TWO TIMES, whether you're sure you want to go ahead a download it. Verizon on the other hand, used to do that, but changed it so they can make more money when people hit the wrong button. And leaving your AC on is not accidental usage, so that doesn't even work there. Your house would still be getting AC. If I "accidentally" downloaded music and demanded a refund, then I think that would be a better comparison. However, just hitting a button and IMMEDIATELY hitting the END button to cancel whatever it was going to, that's no reason to be charged $1.99 because I'm not getting $hit for it.
27. VZWoracle (Posts: 4; Member since: 01 Feb 2009)
*standing ovation* I couldn't agree MORE!!!!
28. livin4acti0n (Posts: 22; Member since: 04 Apr 2009)
i TOTALLy agree. And i also believe that Verizon is going to have more problems with their customers over these data plans. Its getting a little ridiculous.
29. VZWtrainer (Posts: 50; Member since: 24 Jul 2008)
I wouldnt get anything for my house being air conditioned while I am not there, so the comparison is spot on. And you are very wrong about the accidental click to cause charges. The first page of Mobile Web DOES NOT charge $1.99, so a customer would have to navigate past it. As far as Media Center/Get it now, at least 3 clicks are required before data charges show up on the cusotmers account. Now I do agree with you that too many people are being charged $1.99 MB charges do to mistakes, although they are their mistakes. It would be nice if VZW gave every customer a free 100kB allowance. This would prevent charges from situations like the one you described. Anyone using more than that is not an accident. Out of the customer accounts that I have looked at over the 2.5 years that VZW has done MB billing, only a handful are with the situation that you describe. Most are kids using the web or an application that needs the web.
31. jrfis (Posts: 5; Member since: 02 Mar 2010)
First off, you may not be getting the AC because you are not in your house, but you are still getting something you paid for!!! You pay for AC, you get it in your house, regardless if you are there or not. Again, I can understand if I am complaining that I got a song by accident as a ringtone and I didn't want it. That would be comparable to your AC story because I would still be getting something I paid for, and therefore, a refund shouldn't be given. Okay, in 2009, why did I get charged for 4 months of Data charges? I even recorded the dates that I accidentally hit the button, whether I was waking up in the morning and didn't see what I was pressing, or whatever the situation was. I have never accessed any other information that would require me to be charged. The only time I was rightfully charged for something was when I downloaded music, which I knew I did, no questions there!Now why does everyone seem to have the same story then?? I have looked into this issue last year and people complained about the exact same thing.. once you press the wrong button and it says Connecting it charges you. And being you work for Verizon, why would I believe you? I called Verizon asking what I was being exactly charged for... and this was right after I had gotten a new phone. You know how when you get a new phone and they give you a free trial that shows you where the call is originating from? Yea, that's what I was being charged for. Do I really care where the phone number comes from? NO.. it was free and was automatic once I got the phone... and I was charged for it. Lastly, you don't know me... and I guarantee there's more than just a handful of people complaining about the accidental pressing of a button. Just with people I directly talk to, friends and family, I know at least 5. And personally, I think with everyone complaining, that maybe they changed it to at least 3 clicks until you get charged. Because I got charged for one click... and it never fully connected.
33. Templer16 (Posts: 20; Member since: 09 Apr 2009)
THere is no proof of this. It has been stated but never backed up (ie proof that they went beyond that page and if so which one). I have seen way too many 75 yr women with 1.99 fees that might hit the wrong button to load the intro page but are way to uneducated to get past that. VZW is a great company but get off the kool aid and spend some time in the stores to see how real operations are handled...
34. VZWtrainer (Posts: 50; Member since: 24 Jul 2008)
Yeah that's because stores only hear customer issues and customer service never does right? I'm a trainer in a call center of about 1500 people. I talk to a lot of the reps that take 50 + calls a day. When there are mistaken charges we credit them or block the feature. Nobody has to pay for something they don't use. The company fixed the issue that was happening at first of the first page of mobile web charging a customer. For Get It Now/Media Center someone has to click Media Center or Get it now (Click #1), then click on Get Games or Get Tunes and Tones or Get Pix and Flix or whatever category they want (Click #2) and then they HAVE to click on Get new application BEFORE it charges MB's (Click #3). I never said there weren't accidental usages. I could pocket dial someone for 2 hours and have that come out of my minutes too.
38. VZWuser76 (Posts: 3776; Member since: 04 Mar 2010)
I think that while your analogies sound logical, they are exaggerated. As far as the AC analogy, what would be more appropriate is not if you left it on while away on vacation, but if you turned it on for 1 second and got charged for a weeks worth of use. I know there is a debate about when the data charges happen. I saw charges on my bill for data use and couldn't figure out where they came from, so I called in. The service rep said it was for Mobile Web. I said the same thing as I'm sure many of you have heard before, accident. Now it's not as bad on my Entice, but with some earlier phones I had (V276, W385) the Mobile Web shortcut was UP on the navigation ring. I used to hit it by accident while trying to hit the ok button. On my Entice the only time I've hit it is when I am moving too fast. Now while I agree that there should be a confirmation screen for MW, that's not what got me angry. When I called in about the charges, the service rep told me that anytime I saw the mobile web home screen I was being charged for data usage. I said "So if I hit it accidentally, I am getting charged" to which he replied "Yes, it costs us when you use data accidentally or not". So I asked about a confirmation screen before charges and he said that he could forward that along but I shouldn't hold my breath. Then about three weeks later I read on Phone Arena that VZW told the FCC that it was only after navigating away from the home screen that charges applied. I have always said that that is my main problem with VZW, ask two different people the same question and get two different answers. So that is my experience with the Data Charges. Also, the FCC is not overstepping it's jurisdiction, they are there to regulate the industry and protect the consumer. If you don't want to deal with them, then you shouldn't be working in the wireless, broadcast, or communcations industry. Saying they they shouldn't be involved in this is like saying the NHSTA shouldn't be involved in auto recalls. And in case you're ready to dismiss me as another customer who knows nothing about the industry, I have a degree in wireless communications and telecommunications, and have worked for the last 13 years as an electronics/communications contractor installing equipment in hospitals, schools, prisons, and community centers. I understand dealing with customers can be anywhere from a dull pain to wanting to put your head through a wall, but just saying every customer is out to screw you isn't the way to go either.
41. DonLouie (Posts: 594; Member since: 22 Dec 2008)
I believe the rep told you right and the trainer here eating the propaganada while trying to force feed it to this forum.
21. bronxbomber (Posts: 82; Member since: 10 Apr 2009)
Best solution is to turn the feature off if there plan does not include data. this should be done on all carriers. customers do it to themselves, and then want to call and complain about the charges. i hate when a customer calls up and has the nerve to say they didnt use data but they got 2 ringtones downloaded.
23. SamTime (Posts: 253; Member since: 07 Nov 2009)
PA readers are some of the most ignorant bunch of drones I've ever come across.
26. TheGovernor11 (Posts: 1; Member since: 03 Mar 2010)
It's morons like this who can I happily blame for forcing almost all VZW phones for having the $9.99 3G charge. Regardless if you block the internet and email on your kids phone...
30. bbatts22 (Posts: 17; Member since: 19 Feb 2010)
The funniest thing about all of this is that money grubbing sales guys try to sell internet on every phone that walks out the door. The customer says, "nah! I dont need that stuff" ( even though they are buying a 400 dollar env touch that is all about big touch screen and web features ) then they get home and play around and download apps and forget about it until next month when they get the bill, then they want to start bitching and be entitled to being ignorant while use high tech communication equipment.
36. DonLouie (Posts: 594; Member since: 22 Dec 2008)
All you employees and fans blaming subs for vzw's chickens cominh home to roost are silly, the trainer has been perpetuating the rumor that no charges start right away should listen to the subs instead of blaming them. The funny thing is most carriers have this problem but vzw's is so bad that a lawsuit came from it, hope they make a case for the forced data too
44. Wendy (unregistered)
I have a Blackberry Storm2, with the $29.99 a month data plan. I STILL have been charged $1.99 the past couple of months. I'm still trying to track down the error. >:(
45. johnnie raymond (unregistered)
i went down with my altel contract paid cash for the phone and they told me this was not a smart phone but the first 30 days of internet was free to try then when i tried to drop the internet from my phone they siad the phone had to have it for data reasons now they want earley termanation fees and all kinds of money for this and that it cost 120 dollors a mounth for one phone and i was limited still to so much time on internet and call crazy to keep paying this when straight talk has same towers unlimited talk text internet for 45 dollors now verizon is killing my credit but ill not give in verizon will lie and cheat you out of money they are like dish network scam artist
46. Rev. Ron (unregistered)
My wife has a Voyager and every few months we see a $1.99 charge. I have been to the local Verizon store several times over the nearly two years she has had the phone about these random data charges. When I asked about blocking the data service, I was told that I could not because she has unlimited text messaging. Today when I called Verizon after seeing the data charge on this month's bill, I was told I could block the data service without blocking the text messaging capability. This is apparently a recently added capability. She does not download ringtones, use the web or have email access. She does not want or use those features just voice and text messaging. Finally she can have what she wants without the spurious $1.99 charges.
48. followthemoney (unregistered)
Multiply $2 times, a conservative estimate, 2 million times, a conservative estimate, 6 months a year times, a conservative estimate, three years. Not so stupid anymore, is it?
Yes, they do charge the data charge for incorrectly hitting that button. I have the invoices to prove it. The principle at play is the psychology of "it's only $2; not worth the time to fight about it."
49. Jeremiah (unregistered)
Yes verizon just hit me with a 2000.00 bill for the months of july for over data usage when I clearly put unlimited text on my service now there stating there was no change that I didn't have unlimited text. Should i get a lawyer?
50. Elizabeth (unregistered)
It's true, I have been mischarged by Verizon Many times! They are not to be trusted and it takes hours to get things fixed, If you can actually get a live person on the phone!
Verizon slapped with lawsuit over $1.99 data charges