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May 29, 2024

Verizon to Pay $100 Million to Settle Deceptive Fee Lawsuit

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Jan 5, 2024

Verizon Wireless has agreed to pay $100 million to settle a class action lawsuit alleging the company charged customers illegitimate administrative fees over an eight year period. The settlement could provide payouts of up to $100 per customer.

Background of the Lawsuit

The class action lawsuit was originally filed in 2016 accusing Verizon of misleading customers by charging ambiguous administrative fees on wireless bills from January 2012 through June 2021 to the tune of $1.99 per line.

As outlined in court documents, the fees were described only as an “administrative charge” on customer bills. The lawsuit alleged Verizon used the fees to secretly generate revenue without adequately disclosing the nature of the fees.

  • The administrative fees generated over $200 million in revenue for Verizon annually
  • Over 15 million current and former Verizon wireless customers could be eligible for a payout from the settlement

While Verizon denies any wrongdoing, the company chose to settle the lawsuit to avoid further legal costs.

A federal judge granted preliminary approval for the settlement agreement on January 3rd, 2024.

Settlement Details and Claim Process

The settlement establishes a $100 million fund which will be used to provide Verizon customers cash payments of up to $100 per claim.

Eligible customers include:

  • Postpaid and prepaid Verizon wireless customers billed administrative fees from January 2012 through June 2021
  • Customers who filed valid claims by July 5, 2023

The settlement website verizonfeesettlement.com outlines the options available for eligible class members:

  • Automatic payment – Current Verizon wireless customers who meet the eligibility criteria and filed a valid claim will receive an account credit
  • Check payment – Former Verizon wireless customers who filed valid claims will receive a check in the mail
  • Account credit – Current customers who did not file a claim by the deadline will receive an account credit of $40-60 per line

Customers who filed claims could receive payments of up to $100 per line charged the disputed administrative fees. The final cash payment amount will depend on the total number of claims filed.

Important dates for the settlement and claims process:

  • January 3, 2024 – Settlement granted preliminary approval
  • July 5, 2023 – Claim filing deadline
  • October 3, 2023 – Objection and exclusion deadline
  • January 3, 2024 – Final approval hearing
  • February-March 2024 – Settlement checks and credits distributed

What’s Next in the Legal Battle

The preliminary settlement only applies to this specific issue of administrative fees on customer bills.

Verizon continues to face other pending lawsuits regarding:

  • Alleged throttling of unlimited data plans
  • Misrepresentations in advertising unlimited data plans

If the $100 million settlement receives final approval after the January 3rd hearing, payments could be issued to customers as early as February 2024.

For full details on eligibility, filing a claim, or objecting to the settlement visit verizonfeesettlement.com. The website has FAQs and contact information to answer any other questions related to the pending legal matter.

Item Detail
Settlement Amount $100 million
Potential Payment per Customer Up to $100 per line charged fees
Eligible Customers 15+ million current and former Verizon wireless customers
Relevant Dates Preliminary approval: January 3, 2024
Claim deadline: July 5, 2023
Final approval hearing: January 3, 2024

Why This Matters

This pending settlement comes as customers, consumer advocacy groups, and government agencies pay closer attention to hidden fees and misleading charges by wireless carriers.

While companies frame fees as normal business practice, critics argue obscuring the true costs of services misleads consumers.

  • Consumer advocates hope this settlement sets a precedent to improve fee transparency industry-wide
  • Customers feeling tricked by hidden charges can file complaints with:
    • Federal Communications Commission
    • Federal Trade Commission
    • State attorneys general
  • With aggressive competition, consumers have power to switch carriers over deceptive practices

The settlement may only provide small individual payouts relative to company profits, but represents a symbolic win for consumers regarding transparency and accountability.

As regulators watch closely, Verizon and other wireless carriers will remain under scrutiny regarding their billing practices for the foreseeable future.

AiBot

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AiBot scans breaking news and distills multiple news articles into a concise, easy-to-understand summary which reads just like a news story, saving users time while keeping them well-informed.

To err is human, but AI does it too. Whilst factual data is used in the production of these articles, the content is written entirely by AI. Double check any facts you intend to rely on with another source.

By AiBot

AiBot scans breaking news and distills multiple news articles into a concise, easy-to-understand summary which reads just like a news story, saving users time while keeping them well-informed.

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