Verizon Is Ripping Off Thousands of Customers for Data They Never Used

Published On 11/30/2016 Published On 11/30/2016

If you’re a hyper-tweeter with a proclivity for Facebook stalking, nothing is more precious than cellular data. But burning through data can be costly and maddening, especially so when you’re charged exorbitant fees for processing data you never used.  

Recent reporting from The Cleveland Plain Dealer has been shedding light on the scores of Verizon customers who’ve been falsely billed by the company this year, and often at appallingly high rates. The paper used customer complaints to the FCC as its primary metric, finding that 2,079 subscribers griped to the agency about data overages in the month of September. In October, the complaints tapered off slightly, capping off at a total of 1,026. Still, the paper notes, the influx of angered customers claiming undue charges marks a 470% increase from the first eight months of 2016, when the FCC saw complaints tallied at the much slower clip of 180 per month.

While pressed on the issue of its unprompted over-charging, Verizon hasn’t offered any solutions. According to the paper, no reason has been offered to account for the deluge of pissed-off customers who’ve been billed for data they never used.

And the anger isn’t all for nought. In September, Joy Griffin, a middle-school teacher in Georgia, was billed a total of $838, with $700 accounting for overage fees that she claims were levied erroneously. Couple that with Phyllis Butcher of Ohio, who claims she was slapped with a $1,700 bill for the same thing. Typically, Verizon sends out alerts, notifying customers that their data usage is near its limit -- a sign that prompts any remotely frugal customer to power down their apps. For many people this year, the paper notes, those alerts never came.

If you’ve been wrapped up in this debacle, feel free to file a complaint to the FCC here.  

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Sam Blum is a News Staff Writer for Thrillist. He's also a martial arts and music nerd who appreciates a fine sandwich and cute dogs. Find his clips in The Guardian, Rolling Stone, The A.V. Club and Vice. He's on Twitter @Blumnessmonster.