data fees.

Verizon gets caught stealing from its customers

October 4, 2010: 12:10 AM ET

Does continued dishonesty from the mobile carriers signal that more federal regulation is needed in the telecoms space?

Verizon (VZ) got caught with its hand in the cookie jar this weekend and has to pay $90 million to settle with 15 million (likely angry) customers.

The announcement came in a statement from Verizon Wireless as the company held talks with the Federal Communications Commission about complaints of unauthorized charges and in response to questions about a possible settlement of an F.C.C. investigation into the issue.

The problem is something like this: Verizon sells a customer a phone that can transmit and receive Internet data but the customer has only purchased a voice plan. The phone has data apps, however, and if a customer is tricked into opening one of those apps (or does so accidentally), they get charged for data usage.

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