Verizon Customers Stand to Get Share of $100 Million Settlement

The lawsuit was filed for charging customers an undisclosed fee.
Verizon Customers Stand to Get Share of $100 Million Settlement
People pass by a Verizon store in Chicago on April 20, 2017. (Scott Olson/Getty Images)
Naveen Athrappully

Verizon customers can claim part of a $100 million settlement the company is paying for allegedly charging an excess fee from users, provided they apply before the April 15 deadline.

The class-action lawsuit concerns Americans who purchased postpaid wireless plans from Verizon and were charged an undisclosed administrative fee, according to the official settlement website. Both the plaintiffs and Verizon agreed to a settlement to resolve the lawsuit, according to which the company will pay $100 million into a fund. The fund will be used to make settlement payments to class members, cover administrative costs, and meet attorney expenses.

To be eligible to receive the settlement, an individual must be an account holder from the United States who paid an administrative charge between Jan. 1, 2016, and Nov. 8, 2023. Some eligible individuals will have received a notice of the settlement via mail or email. Such people are automatically included in the settlement class.

Filing for a claim can be done online or via traditional mail. To file online, visit the “Submit Claim” webpage. Individuals who received a notice of settlement must enter the notice ID and confirmation code while applying. Those who didn’t receive the notice can enter their Verizon account number to file a claim.
People who wish to file via traditional mail should download a form from the webpage, fill it out, and send it to Verizon Administrative Charge Settlement, c/o Settlement Administrator, 1650 Arch Street, Suite 2210, Philadelphia, PA 19103.

All claims must be submitted by April 15 to qualify for settlements. The settlement administrator is tasked with reviewing claims and determining the eligibility of individuals.

Individuals can receive up to $100 for their Verizon account. However, the final amount will depend on how long they were a Verizon subscriber and how many people in the settlement class filed a valid claim.

“Specifically, there will be an initial minimum allocated amount of $15.00 for your account plus $1.00 for each month your account received postpaid wireless or data services from Verizon and was charged and paid an Administrative Charge and/or an Administrative and Telco Recovery Charge between January 1, 2016, and the date of the Settlement Agreement, up to a maximum initial allocated amount of $100.00,” the settlement webpage states.

“If the Settlement Fund is not sufficient to pay all the filed valid claims after deducting any Court-approved amounts for the cost of settlement administration, attorneys’ fees and costs, and incentive awards to the class representatives, then the payments made to the settlement class Members who filed valid claims will be decreased from the initial allocated amount on a pro-rata basis.”

Payments will be issued once the settlement is approved and becomes final. Individuals can receive payments electronically or via check.

The Complaint

The lawsuit, filed last year, alleged that once customers sign up for Verizon’s postpaid wireless service, the company “uniformly charges them higher monthly rates than it advertised and promised by adding what Verizon calls an ‘Administrative Charge’ to the bill.”

“The Administrative Charge is not disclosed to customers either before or when they agree to purchase wireless service from Verizon, and in fact the Administrative Charge is never adequately or honestly disclosed to customers,“ the complaint read. ”Nor do Verizon customers ever agree to—or even have the opportunity to accept or reject—the Administrative Charge, which is unilaterally imposed by Verizon without its customers’ consent.”

The company began adding administrative charges to postpaid wireless customers’ bills in 2005 at the rate of $0.40 per month per phone line. In June 2022, the charge increased by 70 percent, from $1.95 to $3.30 per line.

Customers only learned about administrative charges when they received a bill. By that time, they had already signed up for the service and were “financially committed to their purchase” and couldn’t cancel without penalty.

“Verizon then omits or misrepresents the so-called Administrative Charge on its customer bills to further its scheme. Verizon’s paper bills fail to mention the Administrative Charge at all, stating instead that a customer should ‘[c]heck your online bill for all surcharges, taxes, and gov fees,’” the complaint read.

“Then on the online bill, Verizon omits the Administrative Charge from the ‘Monthly charges’ section, where it actually belongs, and instead puts it in the ‘Surcharges’ section, where it is lumped together with various government charges, taxes, and fees. Even worse, for years, Verizon explicitly and falsely stated on its monthly bills that the Administrative Charge is a surcharge imposed on subscribers to ‘cover the costs that are billed to us by federal, state or local governments.’”

In a statement to CNET, a Verizon spokesperson dismissed the charges.

“[Verizon] clearly identifies and describes its wireless consumer Admin Charge multiple times during the sales transaction, as well as in its marketing, contracts and billing,” the spokesperson said. “This charge helps our company recover certain regulatory compliance and network-related costs.”

According to a fact sheet issued earlier this year, Verizon had 93.9 million wireless retail postpaid connections by the end of Dec. 31, 2023.