On October 28, 2010, Verizon Wireless (VZW) agreed to a $25 million payment to the US Treasury along with at least $52.8 million in refunds to approximately 15 million customers who had “mystery” fees on their wireless bills for unrequested wireless broadband charges. Millions of VZW customers had $1.99 data fees on their bills despite not having used data-based services. The $25 million payment is the largest in FCC history, and the agreement ends the FCC’s ten-month investigation into this VZW practice. VZW also agreed to adopt various consumer protection mechanisms, including an appeals process for data charges and a “Data Charge Task Force” to monitor and resolve data-charge complaints. In a statement, Chairman Genachowski highlighted to consumers that the FCC has “got their back.” Commissioner Michael J. Copps and Mignon Clyburn both praised the agreement as well, with Copps stating that the agreement demonstrates that the FCC is taking its “charge as a consumer protection agency seriously.”

The Order is available here. The consent decree is available here. The Chairman’s statement is available here.