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Verizon Wireless Bill Cramming Class Action Lawsuit

By Matt O’Donnell

 

Verizon Wireless
A federal class action lawsuit says Verizon Wireless “crams” third-party charges into customers’ bills. “Cramming” is an industry term used to describe the practice of allowing unauthorized charges from third-party companies to be added to customers’ phone bills without verification of their authenticity. This often leaves consumers’ footing the bill for unauthorized and unwanted charges.
The Verizon Wireless class action lawsuit accuses the wireless provider of letting outside vendors sell horoscopes, sports scores and other third-party content to its subscribers on their mobile phones, but of having no way of knowing whether the purchases were authorized. This is because middlemen known as “aggregators” help mobile content providers “piggyback” on consumers’ phone bills. The consumer pays the wireless company, which then makes payment to the aggregator, which in turn remits funds to the content provider.
In addition to Verizon, the mobile cramming class action lawsuit names three mobile content providers as defendants, including SendMe, Inc. and Funmobile Games, Inc. SendMe operates WT411.com, a website that features news about celebrities for a monthly and allows users to leave comments and enter monthly contests for a monthly phone bill charge of $9.99. Funmobile Games sells ring tones, video games and wallpaper for downloading on mobile phones, and also operates hot-hot-news.com.
“[A] substantial part of mobile content ‘sales’ are effected through websites using misleading, oblique, or inadequately explained ‘consent’ procedures,” the Verizon class action says. “Defendants’ continued conduct in billing telephone subscribers for premium content, combined with their failure to implement a billing system that would ensure consumers who did, in fact, authorize charges for such services were billed for them, is a deliberate strategy by defendants to unlawfully collect small sums of money from a large number of consumers.”
Plaintiff John Considine claims in the Verizon Wireless class action lawsuit that the mobile content providers placed charges on his Verizon phone bill for services he did not order. The lawsuit says Verizon refused his requests to take the charges off his bill, which were virtually hidden because they were listed with indecipherable notations. The identity of the aggregator in Considine’s case remains unknown.
According to Considine’s lawyer, mobile content providers that obtain someone’s wireless number is tantamount to having their credit card number because it allows that person to be billed for products and services whether or not that person agreed to make the purchases. 
The Verizon Wireless cramming class action lawsuit is alleging violations of the Consumer Fraud Act; the Truth in Consumer Contract, Warranty and Notice Act; and unjust enrichment. The case is Considine v. Verizon Wireless, 2:11-cv-02461. 
 

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Updated May 20th, 2011

 

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5 Comments

  • Anonymous May 25, 2011

    Verizon Wireless Bill Cramming Class Action Lawsuit
    how can found out if i’m owed

  • Anonymous June 1, 2011

    Verizon Wireless Bill Cramming Class Action Lawsuit
    This has happened to me also.

  • Anonymous September 8, 2011

    This recently happened to me, I have gotten nowhere with Verizon in getting them to take care of this.

    How do I get in on this lawsuit?

  • Anonymous October 16, 2012

    I would like to be a part of this lawsuit.$19.98 per month is what I found on my bill. I have had it blocked, but the fact still remains that Verizon is getting a kickback on these charges no doubt. Do the math, Verizon has no interest in stopping this practice. I’ts up to US, the consumer. Ask your friends to check their bills. Write letters to government officials. Consumer Fraud Agency etc. etc.Evil succeeds when good men do nothing.

  • gloria epstein March 19, 2014

    has anybody else had problems with Verizon with interstate billing? I found out, after moving from CA to AZ and notifying Verizon, that they were billing me for taxes, surcharges, federal and state for both states. I tried the FCC and they said Verizon denied it. I have copies of all my bills which I found after they wanted to charge me $5.00 per bill per month for 4 years. They suggested that I contact the Attorney General in Phoenix, which I did. Again, Verizon denied the claim and told them I agreed to pay, of course I never did agree to that. It totals about $400.00. So far, they have submitted it to at least 8 collection companies, keep renewing the date so it stays on the credit reports longer, and refuse to discuss the matter. Then they had the nerve to tell me to pay the bill because they wanted me back as a customer. The nerve of them!!! I have since switched companies in Phoenix now going to ATT who states that it does not matter that my phone number is a CA prefix, the taxes are the state I live in.

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