Verizon scrutinzed for billing practices

Liz Szalay was shocked when she saw her 14-year-old son’s Verizon Wireless bill. He’d run up charges of $2,000 over two months for downloading songs.

“I would never have allowed my son to accrue such charges, if I had known,” said Szalay. “What I did to prevent this from happening in the future was have his Internet access completely blocked by Verizon, but not before they made off with a boatload of money.”

The Federal Communications Commission may make it mandatory for cellular carriers to warn customers before they get hit with high bills. Next week, the agency will consider requiring companies to alert customers when they approach limits on their contracts. Carriers including Verizon Wireless have fought against such requirements, saying they already give customers ways to monitor their usage.

Verizon is also under investigation for charging 15 million customers incorrectly for data. The company said this week it will refund the charges, incurred when software inside its phones received or sent signals or customers were mistakenly charged for Internet access.


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