The Story Behind the Verizon Wireless SMS Refund Lawsuit
There were third-party charges on Verizon bills because of premium short messaging services (SMS).
What Is the Verizon Wireless Premium SMS?
According to the terms and conditions of Verizon, Premium Text is standard shortcodes five-digit numbers that are used by third-party businesses to conduct text-based campaigns, which vary by shortcode and opt-in requirements.
If a person would like to get into a campaign, they’d need to send a text message to the applicable shortcode and follow any instructions.
Standard messaging charges apply to any responses sent and received from all common shortcodes, and premium charges are also applied.
The cost of any premium fees, whether they are one-time or recurring subscription fees, should be clearly disclosed at the time of opting in. The Premium fees will be on the Verizon Wireless bill.
If someone needs to either unsubscribe or cancel any Premium subscription to any standard shortcodes, they’d need to use either of the following words: CANCEL, END, QUIT, STOP or UNSUBSCRIBE to the applicable shortcodes.
Sending HELP to the applicable shortcodes will get people information about the premium fees and contact details of the third-party business sponsoring the campaign.
What Else To Know About the Premium SMS Refund Program
The settlement with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, the Federal Communications Commission, and State Attorney General, Verizon Wireless has agreed to a refund program for current and old Verizon Wireless account holders.
It is in relation to unauthorized charges and unrefunded commercial premium SMSs charged by third-party businesses.
Under the Refund Program, eligible class members will receive a refund from Verizon for these premium SMS.
They would need to file out a claim form to get a refund.
Further Details About the Settlement
Sprint and Verizon Wireless paid customers who were crammed on their phone bills, according to a settlement that was announced on the 11th of May 2015.
Sprint settled for $68 million, while Verizon agreed on a $90 million settlement.
AT&T, along with T-Mobile, was also charged with the same settlements, and they paid a total amount of $353 million.
All four promised to stop billing their consumers for commercial premium SMS in the fall of 2013.
The four businesses also took steps to make sure that they are only billing customers for fees that they have been authorized to do so.
Getting people’s express consent before billing any third-party fees and making sure that people are only being charged for services that they were told of all the material terms and conditions of their payment.
That they should provide a full refund or credit to customers who were billed unauthorized charges from third-party groups in the future.
New customers should either stop third-party charges or choose to use their mobile phone to pay third-party fees.
To segregate third-party fees in a separate section of their phone bills, for the customers to clearly distinguish them from all other charges on the phone bill.
Mobile phone cramming involves usually a monthly fee of $9.99 for premium SMS such as horoscopes, trivia, or sports scores.
Although for some people involved, they didn’t even think that they were subscribing to the services.
In order to take part in the case, potential class members must not have received any refund for the premium SMS fees.
There was a claim form that people can fill out before the 31st of December 2015 so they can take part in the case.
There was a settlement site that was open for the meantime, www.CFPBSettlementVerizon.com, where they can download the form.
How People Can Get the Verizon Wireless Premium SMS Refund
For potential class members, they can get a refund for any premium SMS third-party fees that people had since the 1st of July 2010. They will issue refunds within 90 days after the claim period.
There are different ways to get the refund, either by check or credit or through account offset.
If the receiver is a current account holder, they can get the refund through credit that will be applied to their wireless phone bill.
But if the account’s already closed, they can receive the credit as a check instead.
If the receiver is a former account holder, but they owe balances, they may get a refund via check, or an offset for their balances.
They may not get a refund though if the refunds and the offset get to less than $3.
Potential class members will need their Premium SMS billing summary in order for them to complete the claim form. The refund administrator will review and verify the claim form, once submitted.
But if in case people can’t get a hold of a copy, they can request it. The settlement website www.CFPBSettlementVerizon.com provides an option for people to request the billing summary.
They’ll just need to put in their details and their location and their email address.
The website will also ask for their billing account number and number, along with the last four digits of their social security number or tax ID.
About Verizon Wireless
Also known as Verizon, they offer wireless products and services, and they are part of Verizon Communications. It is also the second-largest wireless provider in the country.
They use a national 4G LTE network that covers around 98% of the population. They also offer mobile phone services through different devices.
Editor’s Note on Verizon Wireless Premium SMS Refund:
This feature is an update of the Verizon Wireless Premium SMS Refund Class Action Lawsuit filed over alleged extra charges on Verizon bills by third-parties.
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