Verizon to refund $50 million, may face fine for delay

Woman walks in front of a Verizon Wireless store
Woman walks in front of a Verizon Wireless store

Verizon Wireless will refund $50 million to 15 million customers for unauthorized mystery cell phone data charges and the Federal Communications Commission is saying, "What took so long," and maybe, "That's not enough."

As Verizon announced the refunds on Sunday night -- Verizon Wireless has 92 million customers -- a top FCC official issued a statement saying that the agency had been probing the overcharges for 10 months and questioning the company's explanation for not acting sooner in response to customer complaints. The statement hinted the FCC may fine the company for failing to act sooner.

"We're gratified to see Verizon agree to finally repay its customers. But questions remain as to why it took Verizon two years to reimburse its customers and why greater disclosure and other corrective actions did not come much, much sooner," said Michele Ellison, chief of the FCC's Enforcement Bureau in a statement.