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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
October 4, 2010
3:18 PM

CONTACT: Free Press

Jenn Ettinger, 202-265-1490 x 35

Verizon’s Admission Shows Need for FCC Action to Protect Consumers

WASHINGTON - October 4 - Verizon Wireless has admitted to charging 15 million customers for data they did not use, and the company will repay around $50 million to those who were erroneously billed. Verizon's admission follows an extensive investigation by the Federal Communications Commission, which discovered the company was wrongly charging its users.

Free Press Policy Counsel M. Chris Riley made the following statement:

"Verizon's admission of guilt is not a result of corporate transparency and goodwill; it's a result of getting caught greedily deceiving your customers. These complaints came from Verizon subscribers that signed up only for voice and text plans but who were charged for data usage. And despite promises to repay its customers, it's unclear whether $50 million is sufficient penalty for deceiving subscribers and federal regulators.

"The FCC must continue to investigate such shady billing practices, establish clear rules to prevent hidden and erroneous charges, and create a forum for users to bring complaints. We also hope the Commission examines other anti-consumer practices, including the early termination penalties levied by Verizon and other national carriers. The only purpose of these arbitrary fees appears to be gouging users in the expanding mobile arena.

"Verizon has demonstrated that it can't be trusted. It only admitted to the erroneous charges after an investigation and threat of regulatory action. This is further evidence that companies should not be allowed to write their own rules, and that the FCC must have clear and undisputed authority to protect the public in the broadband marketplace."

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Free Press is a national, nonpartisan organization working to reform the media. Through education, organizing and advocacy, we promote diverse and independent media ownership, strong public media, and universal access to communications. Learn more at www.freepress.net



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