Major wireless carriers often incorporate activation fees on their smartphone plans, and subscribers who are not mindful enough sometimes find themselves surprised to discover that they are actually paying for some hidden charges.
Customers of AT&T who filed for refunds after experiencing unwanted charges on their phone bills may not be able to get full reimbursement from the US major wireless carrier. The reason: there is just not enough money to go around. Yikes.
As of this writing, over 3 million current and former subscribers of AT&T have sent their applications for refunds as part of a settlement with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) over illegal charges that have been "crammed" on their phone bills. The FTC had determined that third parties had utilized the carrier's premium text messaging service and then AT&T then charged the use of this service to its subscribers.
Verizon Wireless will be paying an amount of $90 million to the Federal Communications Commission over charges of cramming, a practice that unfairly bills customers for services without their knowledge and full consent.
Also paying is fellow wireless carrier Sprint, who will be handing over an amount of $68 million over similar charges. Combined, both wireless carriers will be paying a total of $158 million in restitution and fees. $120 million of that amount will be paid to affected customers.
Verizon Wireless and Sprint now join other carriers such as AT&T and T-Mobile, who both have been hit by the FCC in the past few months over similar charges. AT&T agreed to pay a $105 million settlement while T-Mobile is to hand over $90 million.
Verizon Wireless is making a policy change again. As confirmed by a Verizon Wireless spokesperson to Phone Scoop, the major wireless carrier will be hiking up its activation fees and its upgrade fees to $40. Previously, the activation fees were only $35 while the upgrade fees were $30.
Verizon Wireless reasoned that the increase in fees are needed in order to help offset the costs associated with the activation of new mobile devices and the process of upgrading subscribers to a newer smartphone. It may not be clear how and why, but Verizon stands by its argument that the price hike is standard and necessary the carrier to remain competitive, despite its status as the industry leader.
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