Verizon Accidentally Charged Customers $90 Million Too Much

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Mobile giant Verizon appears to have systematically, although purportedly unintentionally, overcharged customers for data usage on their cell phones. According to the company, "the majority of the data sessions involved minor data exchanges caused by software built into their phones; others involved accessing the web, which should not have incurred charges." 15 million customers were hit with the small extra fees. Perhaps not a big deal, but it makes you wonder: how often does this happen and we *don't* hear about it.

This may well be the largest consumer telecommunications refund in history. Verizon Wireless said Sunday it will pay up to $90 million in refunds to some 15 million subscribers who were charged for data usage or Internet access though they weren't on data usage plans. The company will credit current customers who were billed for bogus data sessions between $2 and $6 each on their October and November bills. And it will cut checks in the same amounts to former customers.

Read the full story at All Things D.

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Alexis C. Madrigal

Alexis Madrigal is the deputy editor of TheAtlantic.com, where he also oversees the Technology Channel. He's the author of Powering the Dream: The History and Promise of Green Technology. More

The New York Observer has called Madrigal "for all intents and purposes, the perfect modern reporter." He co-founded Longshot magazine, a high-speed media experiment that garnered attention from The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and the BBC. While at Wired.com, he built Wired Science into one of the most popular blogs in the world. The site was nominated for best magazine blog by the MPA and best science Web site in the 2009 Webby Awards. He also co-founded Haiti ReWired, a groundbreaking community dedicated to the discussion of technology, infrastructure, and the future of Haiti.

He's spoken at Stanford, CalTech, Berkeley, SXSW, E3, and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, and his writing was anthologized in Best Technology Writing 2010 (Yale University Press).

Madrigal is a visiting scholar at the University of California at Berkeley's Office for the History of Science and Technology. Born in Mexico City, he grew up in the exurbs north of Portland, Oregon, and now lives in Oakland.

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