Make us your home page

Florida Verizon cell phone customers can seek refunds for hidden charges

TALLAHASSEE — Verizon cell phone customers in Florida can get refunds for charges for ringtones and other features that people did not order or did not know would add monthly fees from $9.99 to $49.99.

Those hidden charges were imposed on customers for several years, Attorney General Bill McCollum said Wednesday in announcing a settlement between his office and the cell phone provider.

As part of the deal, Verizon will pay $1.5 million to the state and will require larger type for the fine print of Web-based advertising for ring tones, wallpaper, music, horoscopes and other features. The state said the charges appear on bills under indiscernible names like "M-Blox," "M-Qube" and "OpenMarket."

McCollum said the agreement requires Verizon to "police the Internet" to make sure that ads for third-party content comply with Florida's unfair and deceptive trade practices law.

Current customers will receive credits for the overcharges, and former customers can obtain refunds. But they have to ask for the money, and Verizon will notify former customers if their e-mail addresses are still on file with the company.

Terms of the settlement require customers to affirm that they did not authorize the third-party charges. Credits or refunds will be offered to customers for a six-month period.

McCollum, a Republican candidate for governor in 2010, praised Verizon's cooperation at a news conference and called the company a "good citizen." He said Verizon is an industry leader in blocking third-party content and requiring parental consent for adult content.

He said the state has previously reached a settlement on unauthorized third-party content by AT&T, and is still negotiating with T-Mobile and SprintNextel.

Florida Verizon cell phone customers can seek refunds for hidden charges 06/24/09 [Last modified: Thursday, June 25, 2009 7:50am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. 'Road to Nowhere' is back: Next phase of Suncoast Parkway coming


    Despite intense public opposition and dubious traffic projections, the Florida Department of Transportation has announced that construction of the toll road known as "Suncoast 2" is expected to start in early 2018.

    The Suncoast Parkway ends at U.S. 98 just south of Citrus County. For years residents have opposed extending the toll road, a project dubbed the "Suncoast 2" into Citrus County. But state officials recently announced that the Suncoast 2 should start construction in early 2018. [Stephen J. Coddington  |  TIMES]
  2. A sports rout on Wall Street


    NEW YORK — Sporting goods retailers can't shake their losing streak.

  3. Grocery chain Aldi hosting hiring event in Brandon Aug. 24


    BRANDON — German grocery chain Aldi is holding a hiring event for its Brandon store Aug. 24. It is looking to fill store associate, shift manager and manager trainee positions.

  4. Lightning owner Jeff Vinik backs film company pursuing global blockbusters


    TAMPA — Jeff Vinik's latest investment might be coming to a theater near you.

    Jeff Vinik, Tampa Bay Lightning owner, invested in a new movie company looking to appeal to a global audience. | [Times file photo]
  5. Trigaux: Look to new Inc. 5000 rankings for Tampa Bay's future heavyweights


    There's a whole lotta fast-growing private companies here in Tampa Bay. Odds are good you have not heard of most of them.


    Kyle Taylor, CEO and founder of The Penny Hoarder, fills a glass for his employees this past Wednesday as the young St. Petersburg personal advice business celebrates its landing at No. 25 on the 2017 Inc. 5000 list of the fastest growing private companies in the country. Taylor, still in his 20s, wins kudos from executive editor Alexis Grant for keeping the firm's culture innovative. The business ranked No. 32 last year. [DIRK SHADD   |   Times]