Questionable Verizon Billing Practices Spark Tenfold Increase In FCC Complaints

Wireless carriers don’t exactly have a glowing reputation with Americans. Between hidden and overage fees, sometimes inadequate customer service, and shady billing practices, customers have every right to be suspicious of carriers. In fact, just yesterday we reported that AT&T and Verizon Wireless have raked in over $600 million in overage fees alone so far this year.

Today, we’re learning that Verizon has drawn the ire of customers for its billing practices. No matter which wireless carrier you subscribe to, there are bound to be billing issues that pop up from time to time — it’s to be expected. From January of this year through August, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) received on average 180 complaints per month about Verizon’s billing practices. The complaints peaked at 278 in January and were as low as 135 in March.


However, that number skyrocketed to an astonishing 2,079 complaints for the month of September, which represents more than a tenfold increase. “For the year, customers submitted 3,521 complaints against Verizon for billing, according to the commission's numbers,” writes John Caniglia. “Of those, 41 percent – or 1,442 – came in the first eight months of the year. The rest, or 59 percent, poured in last month.”

So just what exactly happened in September that would cause complaints to shoot the roof in such dramatic fashion? No one is exactly sure what is causing the spike, but one Florida woman got hit with a $9,100 phone bill in early September, while a Cleveland non-profit is facing a $20,000 bill due to unexplained overages.

Back in July, Verizon introduced new data plans that raised data buckets and eliminated overage fees (while at the same time raising prices), but that still doesn’t explain the September anomaly with regards to complaints. Some people suggest that perhaps a hidden setting within Android or iOS is causing significant data usage, while others are blaming a rogue Amazon app for the ravenous data usage.

As of today, Verizon officials have not responded to requests for comment about the increase in customer complaints.