On July 3, 2013, after a one year investigation by this office, Verizon is facing a class action in federal court. The case involves allegedly unfair fees imposed on Verizon landline accounts.
Verizon’s Billing Practices
The class action complaint alleges:
- An unlawful practice of Verizon of charging unauthorized minimum monthly account fees for long distance service to Verizon landline customers.
- That the Plaintiff was been charged minimum monthly fees for long distance service; that is, he was charged for not using long distance service.
- These minimum monthly charges were identified on Plaintiff’s statements as a “VES FirmRate Advantage Shortfall Charge” and were in addition to the standard voice-services charge paid by Plaintiff and the per-minute long distance charges Plaintiff paid for his actual use of long distance services.
- Plaintiff was also double billed, and paid for, long distance, as described below, and in one month was charged for, and paid, an unexplained shortfall charge of $45.00.
- Verizon has been charging its landline telephone customers minimum monthly fees for long distance service in an unfair and deceptive manner.
- These fees have been identified by various names (on Verizon’s bills, on Verizon’s webpages, and in other sources and materials), including the following:
- “Monthly minimum charge for long distance”
- “Minimum Monthly Spend Levels”
- “Minimum Spend Levels” or “MSL”
- “Minimum Monthly Charge” or “MMC”
- “VES FirmRate Advantage Shortfall Charge”
- “Minimum Spend Levels (COMM)”
- Verizon Landline subscribers receive no advance disclosure or notice of these fees prior to the time that they order and agree to receive and pay for landline service from Verizon Continue reading