Listen up, Verizon customers. You may be getting some money back. It’s been nearly a year since the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) asked Verizon to explain a sketchy billing practice. The carrier was charging people a fee for wireless data usage when those customers hadn’t purposely accessed data services. The FCC got involved, and asked Verizon to explain this questionable billing practice, among others. After some back and forth, some investigation, and talks between the carrier and the FCC, Verizon has now agreed to pay 15 million of its customers $90 million in refunds. It’s good for consumers, bad for the company, and it all could have been avoided if Verizon had been a little more accommodating of its customers. Not everyone who gets a cell phone signs up for data services. Certain phones—smartphones—require a data plan, but there are still people out there who just need a simple mobile phone to make the occasional call. Many of those phones are still able to access the Web, though. And even if a customer hasn’t signed up for a data plan, they can still use the phone to access the Internet. They just have to pay a premium price for it, usually by the megabyte. Verizon charges $1.99 per megabyte for customers who don’t have a data plan. That in itself isn’t unusual, although it’s rather expensive. The problem occurred when Verizon didn’t listen to its customers. Certain phone models make it very easy to access the Web at the push of a button. Sure, it’s convenient. But how often do you hit the wrong button on your phone, meaning to do one thing, and doing something else entirely? It happens frequently, right? It’s not that big a deal, unless you get charged for the mistake. That’s what happened to millions of Verizon customers. Every time some those customers hit that button and opened the phone’s Web browser, but didn’t have a data plan attached to their wireless service, Verizon charged them $1.99. Even if the browser was only open for a few seconds before the person backed out of the application, they were charged. Many customers who saw the extra charges on their bills contacted Verizon, explained the problem, and asked for refunds. They say they were ignored, and required to pay the charges for services they didn’t really use or risk losing their service altogether, not to mention getting dinged on their credit reports for failure to pay a bill. This has been happening since at least 2007, and last year the FCC demanded an explanation from Verizon. I don’t imagine the carrier was able to truly justify the practice. Just looking at a customer’s usage would show how long the browser had been open, and how often it had been accessed. If records showed, for example, that a customer accessed the browser, say, an average of once every three months, and it was only for a few seconds, resulting in a charge for just one megabyte, shouldn’t that have told the carrier the customer was telling the truth about it being an accident? And shouldn’t they have issued refunds upon request? Why did it take three years and the FCC getting involved for Verizon to finally agree to do the right thing and give the money back? Paying out $90 million won’t really hurt the multi-billion dollar company. But this is just more bad press that no carrier needs right now when competition is so fierce. Verizon is notifying customers affected by the billing practice, but if you think you may be entitled to a refund because of it, Verizon has set up a toll-free line for customer inquiries: 800-922-0204. You can also contact them directly through their site.