Alltel, Verizon Phone $30M Refund to Fla. Customers

Finally, some relief from all those indiscernible fees and charges

We want our money back! Can you hear me now?

For months, Alltel and Verizon customers in Florida were being charged for all types of services they never wanted and complained until they finally were heard Wednesday. The two major cell phone providers agreed to refund $30 million to customers who were billed for unwanted third-party services including ringtones, music and horoscopes.

The charges can mysteriously appear with indiscernible names such as "OpenMarket," and "M-Blox."

Attorney General Bill McCollum announced the settlement Wednesday. His office estimated Verizon may refund $24 million and Alltel $6 million. Verizon, which is acquiring Alltel, expects the refunds to be much less but hasn't made an estimate.

It's unclear how much money that will translate to on individual phone bills, but every little bit counts in this recession.

The companies also are taking steps nationally to prevent such practices and will pay the state $1.5 million for the investigation and other expenses. A New York settlement last year resulted in refunds for AT&T customers across the nation.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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