First of all, the plans only included a handful of activities, such as web browsing, email and intranet access. Downloading content or playing games online was strictly forbidden, as written in the the terms and conditions of the service agreements. Needless to say, that part of the deal was well-hidden within the contract.
As it followed, heavy Internet users had their service abruptly terminated, due to “excessive use”. Verizon kept claiming that the high levels of usage were the result of “streaming or downloading movies and video”, and therefore it had every right to act as it did.
Over 13,000 consumers nationwide had their service terminated by Verizon Wireless, starting from 2004 and until April 2007.
“This settlement sends a message to companies large and small answering the growing consumer demand for wireless services. When consumers are promised an ‘unlimited’ service, they do not expect the promise to be broken by hidden limitations,” said Attorney General Andrew Cuomo. “Consumers must be treated fairly and honestly. Delivering a product is simply not enough – the promises must be delivered as well.”
Aside from the $1 million sum, which will cover the cost of wireless access cards or cell phones purchased by the consumer in order to utilize Verizon’s service, the company will also pay penalties and costs of $150,000 to New York State and revise the company’s marketing of its wireless internet access plans.