Verizon slapped with lawsuit over $1.99 data charges

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



1. mthoren68

Posts: 66; Member since: Sep 21, 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: 601; Member since: Jan 11, 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: Mar 04, 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: Mar 04, 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: Mar 04, 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: Mar 02, 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: Aug 03, 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: Feb 04, 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: Sep 21, 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: Dec 26, 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: Dec 15, 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: Nov 03, 2009

Your mom is going to get tossed in the trash!

18. ICanAffordVZW

Posts: 123; Member since: Dec 15, 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: Mar 27, 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: 339; Member since: Nov 03, 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: Sep 21, 2009

Another aspect of class actions is going for punitive damages and costs.

19. ICanAffordVZW

Posts: 123; Member since: Dec 15, 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: Jul 15, 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: Mar 02, 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: Apr 09, 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: Mar 16, 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: Apr 09, 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: Mar 02, 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.

20. ICanAffordVZW

Posts: 123; Member since: Dec 15, 2008

so then why are you on this site?

22. VZWtrainer

Posts: 50; Member since: Jul 24, 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: Mar 02, 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.

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