Verizon customers have been experiencing massive spikes in data usage, and consequently, massive overage charges.
But turns out, the amount of data some people were billed for was more than the average person uses in two years.
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Verizon addresses data usage complaints
The nation’s largest wireless carrier, which has 112 million customers in the U.S., posted a statement on its website this week titled, ‘Digging deeper on data use.’
Lou Sigillo, the company’s vice president of customer service, wrote, ‘Your trust is very important to us, and that means we must make sure our bills are right every time, and that you have great tools to manage your data use.’
Sigillo said trust ‘also means admitting when we’ve made a mistake, and ensuring that you’re not ever surprised by your bill.’
The statement also included a customer’s situation that we told you about last month, in which a Florida woman, who said she doesn’t really use a whole lot of data and actually doesn’t even get close to her monthly limit, received a bill from Verizon Wireless for $9,153.46.
The customer, Valarie Gerbus, said that according to Verizon, she had used 569 GB of data in just 10 days.
At the time, the woman said she fought the charges, but Verizon did nothing about it. Well, not until her story was picked up by various news outlets, then Verizon canceled the charges.
‘We reached out directly to our customer, explained what had happened and resolved the issue quickly,’ Sigillo said in the statement.
And Gerbus isn’t the only customer to get hit with false overage fees. In fact, thousands of Verizon users have complained to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), which regulates wireless companies, over the past couple of months. Just last month, the group received 2,079 complaints about Verizon — a 1,000% increase compared with a typical month.
Verizon says it’s working with individual customers to ensure the best user experience and that all bills are correct.
‘Our experts are working with each individual who contacts us to review their data use, clarify what’s going on, and explain tools for managing their data use and bills.’
The company says it takes several steps to make sure ‘your bill is right’:
- We perform a variety of automated checks to help ensure billing accuracy and to identify potential problems so we can take action to address them:
- We monitor the voice, text and data traffic across our entire network against the expected traffic to ensure that our systems accurately count your data use.
- We also review millions of actual customer bills before they are sent, to ensure that our customers’ network use is accurately reflected on their bills.
- We review use of top apps that use a lot of data, and that can also affect battery life. Learn about those data-hungry apps.
- If you’re on The New Verizon Plan, you get Safety Mode for free, which means data overage charges are a thing of the past. When you enable Safety Mode, once you’ve hit your data limit, you can continue using data at a reduced speed without any additional charges.
- Once you have just 10% of your monthly data allowance left, we send you an alert, and then again once you’ve exceeded it. You can also sign up to get additional alerts when you have 50% and 25% of your data left. We pro-actively monitor these alerts for unusual spikes in the percentage of customers receiving them. We aren’t seeing changes in these trends over time.
The takeaway for you!
Even if it doesn’t add up to more than $9,000, data overage fees are no joke! So if you typically use a lot of data, look for an unlimited plan. Here are some of the best ones to consider.
Also, if you start to get notifications like Gerbus did and think it could be a mistake, call the company immediately and figure out what’s going on.
If you don’t get a response, you can file a complaint with FCC on its website.
If you have an iPhone, there’s one feature that now comes automatically enable on every iPhone — and it’s causing people big problems!
It’s called Wi-Fi assist and the way it works is whenever the phone detects a weak Wi-Fi signal, it automatically switches over to using your data — without you even realizing it! So check out the video below that walks you through how to turn it off!