Verizon is the nation's largest wireless service provider, with more than 83,000 employees, 90 million customers in the US and annual revenues of $63 billion, according to its website. The company would likely to be forced to reimburse thousands and thousands of non-smart phone users.
"The charges are substantial," says Karon. "When you add them together, it is a meaningful amount of money, which is likely why Verizon did it."
According to the complaint, Verizon is earning as much as $300 million a month in unauthorized charges. Some non-smart phone users have complained that they were billed $1.99 for accidently hitting a button that connects them to the web. Sometimes customers make that mistake several times a month.
The suit further alleges that Verizon knew it was a problem and only recently refigured the system to block accidental usage. Consumers say Verizon also charges $1.99 to send them a message that access to the web is blocked—a charge Verizon has denied.
So many suits for unauthorized charges of this type have been filed against Verizon that Karon expects the cases to be ultimately be consolidated in a Multi-District Litigation (MDL) suit.
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Daniel Karon is a partner with the firm Goldman, Scarlato & Karon, P.C. and an adjunct professor at Cleveland-Marshall College of Law at Cleveland State University. He is a graduate of the Ohio State University College of Law (1991) and holds a BA in Speech Communication from Indiana University-Bloomington (1988). Karon served as co-lead counsel in Sumner v. Alltel Corp, a consumer fraud case that settled for relief valued at $44 million. He specializes in class action litigation.