It's hard to trust cell service providers right now. Whether they're accused of cramming bills with fake charges or throttling data speeds, it seems like there's a new uproar every month. Now, Verizon is trying to settle one of its longstanding controversies by agreeing to pay out $64.2 million to customers who claimed they were billed for calls that should have been free.
Verizon has agreed to pay out $64.2 million dollars to settle the class action lawsuit brought by customers. Members of the class action lawsuit, on the other hand, claim Verizon charged them for calls that were supposed to be free under Family SharePlans.
The lawsuit was filed in 2006, with plaintiffs alleging that "(a) Verizon Wireless had an undisclosed billing policy and practice under which Verizon Wireless billed subscribers on its Family SharePlans for usage by the Plans' primary and secondary phone lines in a manner different from the manner in which Verizon Wireless was contractually required to bill, in violation of state and federal law; and (b) Verizon Wireless charged certain customers for In-Network talk time even though those customers' calling plans provided for free In-Network calling, in violation of state and federal law," according to the settlement.
Verizon isn't admitting fault in the case. The settlement explains a specific way the money will be divided up and still has to be approved by the judge presiding over the case
The lawyers in the case will get $19 million of the settlement. Another $36.7 million will be reserved for cash payments to customers, and the final $27.5 million will be made converted into "calling units" that will compensate members of the suit for false charges.
That's a relatively big break for Verizon, because the alleged billing practices cost customers about $156 million.
The lawsuit deals with billing complaints that took place between May 2002 and May 2006, so you had to be a Family SharePlan customer at that time to be eligible for compensation.
If the settlement is approved by U.S. District Judge Jose L. Linares, Verizon will be required to transfer the necessary funds to a Settlement Administrator who's in charge of distributing them to affected customers.