Category Archives: Overcharges

Verizon Wireless Customer Refund

According to the AP – Verizon Wireless could pay out up to $90 million in refunds to cell phone customers who were improperly charged for inadvertent Web access or data usage over the past several years.

The FCC had asked Verizon Wireless last year about $1.99 a megabyte data access fees that appeared on the bills of customers who didn’t have data plans but who accidentally initiated data or Web access by pressing a button on their phones.

In a statement on its website Sunday, Verizon Wireless said most of the 15 million customers affected will receive credits of $2 to $6 on their October or November bills. Some will receive larger sums. Customers no longer with the New York-based carrier will get refund checks.

Verizon has said that it stopped charging such fees when a customer started using a data service but then quickly shut it off.

Text Messages Fee

Text messaging is allowing cell phone carriers to mark up their bills by 6,500%.

Consumer are gradually learning that sending these small and short messages are causing their cell phone bill to dramatically increased. Here is why?

On a typical pay per text plan, it usually cost you $0.20 to send outgoing and $0.10 to receiving a 160 character text.

Even if you sign up for a unlimited texting plan for $10 a month, they are still profiting because texting causes them next to nothing to maintain.

Federal Trade Commission

Telephone companies are regulated by the Federal Trade Commission (FCC). So if you have a telephone bill or a cell phone bill that you can’t get resolved with your carrier, consider filing a complaint with the FCC.

It may not seem like a big deal but filing a complaint with the FCC can have a huge impact. It onlys the FCC to spot company wide problems and help you resolve your issue. Telephone companies hate seeing unresolved complaints filed with the FCC. The FCC will contact them and make them explain what happened and why the matter was not resolved.

As more and more people join in this practice, the power in numbers takes over. Believe it or not the system can work for you.

Collect Calls

Collect calls from a pay phone could cost you a fortune. In today’s time, it hard to imagine anyone without a cell phone. However, there could be a time when your cell phone battery runs out and you need to make an emergency collect call.

One day, a Northridge lady was running late at her hair salon. Her cellphone had died. So she made a collect call to her home, from a pay phone, about 3 miles from home. She had no choice because the pay phone ate up her quarters. So she dialed zero and the operator came on to assist her make her collect call.

When her husband received the call, he immediately accepted the collect call request knowing it was his wife. The call lasted roughly three minutes. Then when the AT&T bill arrived, it included a charge for $45.09 from something called NCIC. NCIC is the Network Communication International Corp., a Texas company that says its the largest private held provide of collect call services for pay phones, prisons, hospitals and hotels.

According to the phone bill, NCIC charged her $37.40 for the brief, in-the-neighborhood collect call, $4.74 in regulatory fees and taxes, and an extra $2.95 just for the hell of it (the bill calls this NCIC’s “billing cost recovery fee”).

The couple were appalled when they saw the $45 charge. But is it legal?

The answer, unfortunately, is yes.

“Pay phones are largely unregulated,” said Rosemary Kimball, a spokeswoman for the Federal Communications Commission. “They were deregulated in 1996.”

An NCIC customer-service supervisor said the call consisted of a nearly $25 “connection charge” and a rate of about $2.50 per minute.

NCIC provides collect-call services on behalf of whoever owns a particular pay phone and typically kicks back more than half the proceeds to the owner. It’s thus in both NCIC’s and the phone owner’s interest for the charge to be as high as possible.

In this case, our victim called NCIC and when she complained about being charged $45 for a local call, the service representative immediately dropped about $20 from the total.

Text Messaging Charges Surprise

Cell phone customer are frequently shocked when their first bill arrives and it is hundreds of dollars more than expected. It is usually the parents who are have their kids on their plans that are the most surprised.

The standard cell phone plan has a few hundred “anytime minutes” and free night and weekend minutes for $30 to $50. These plans do not usually include text messaging or internet access. Chances are they don’t push you to buy these additional luxuries because you get them anyways.

For example, if you didn’t add the text message option to your plan, you will still be charge for each text message that you sent and received – even if you didn’t read the message. That also includes text messages from your carrier. You usually get charged for that as well.

Or what about when your son browses the Internet and download a ringtone to their cell phone. You get charge for that as well.

And its all in the fine print of those nice agreements that they ask you to sign while you are too busy checking out your new phone. So if you don’t want to get these nice surprise make sure you call the cell phone company and tell them to turn off all text messaging and Internet access on your Cell phones. This will help you avoid getting some nasty unexpected phone bills.