The lawsuit alleges that Verizon customers were hit with an administrative fee that was part of a 'deceptive scheme'
Some Verizon customers might have found an unexpected surprise in the mail this week: An opportunity to receive a refund as part of a proposed $100 million settlement from a class-action lawsuit.
Eligible customers are receiving postcards or emails alerting them to file a claim by April 15 to receive up to $100, which is the result of the lawsuit accusing Verizon of charging fees that were "unfair and not adequately disclosed."
At issue is Verizon's "administrative charge," which the plaintiffs said were "misleading" because that fee wasn't disclosed in their plan's advertised monthly price and were charged in a "deceptive and unfair manner."
Verizon has denied the claims and said in a statement that it "clearly identifies and describes its wireless consumer admin charge multiple times during the sales transaction, as well as in its marketing, contracts and billing."
A company spokesperson said that the charge "helps our company recover certain regulatory compliance and network related costs."
The settlement was a culmination of four different lawsuits brought together in a New Jersey court, that same state where Verizon is headquartered. It was approved in December but still needs a "fairness hearing" scheduled for March.
So-called "junk fees" are not only derided by consumers but have also attracted the ire of the Biden administration. Last October, the Federal Trade Commission unveiled a proposed rule that would ban businesses from charging hidden or misleading fees and require companies to show full prices upfront.
To apply, a special website has been launched to fill out a form with the required information, including the phone number attached to the Verizon account and an option on how to receive the money, such as a check, Venmo or bank wire.
The payout is at least $15 and might be more depending on how long the customer used Verizon and the number of customers who file a claim. A claim must be filed to receive the payout and only customers with postpaid wireless accounts or data plans from January 1, 2016, to November 8, 2023, are eligible.
Customers who don't file a claim "will give up any right you may have to sue Verizon about the issues in this lawsuit," the website said.
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