Verizon And Sprint Unauthorized Phone Charges Will Cost Them $158 Million

Business / Tech

The big buzz today is the fact that Verizon is buying out AOL taking in quite a bit of assets including media outlets like Techcrunch, Engadget and The Huffington Post. But Verizon, along with Sprint, is going to be opening up its pocket book for other reasons, unauthorized phone charges. The false charges to customers were things like horoscopes and trivia and those charges are going to cost Verizon $90 million and Sprint $68 million. Regulators claim that consumers were charged up to $9.99 a month for services like celebrity gossip with Verizon and Sprint taking 40% of the cut.

The Federal Communications Commission, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and attorneys general from across the country investigated the charges and negotiated settlements with Verizon and Sprint, the No. 1 and No. 3 wireless providers.

“Well before any government action, Verizon Wireless stopped allowing companies to place charges for premium text message services on customers’ bills,” Verizon spokesman Ed McFadden said in a statement.

With Verizon plunking down $4.4 billion for AOL they’re probably not overtly concerned about the $90 million they have to pay out. It’s probably better for them to settle things up now and brush this under the rug. Sprint on the other hand isn’t as money heavy as big red so it will be interesting to see if this affects them. Lest you think that the other major carriers got off scot free, both AT&T and T-Mobile settled on similar charges late last year.

What do you think about this settlement? Let us know in the comments below or on Google+, Facebook and Twitter.

  Source: Reuters
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