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Verizon fined for overcharging some low-income phone customers
Sept. 10, 2009
Docket Number: UT-090073
OLYMPIA, Wash. – Under a settlement effective today, Verizon Northwest Inc. will pay an almost $40,000 penalty for failing to charge the correct telephone rates for some low-income customers.
An administrative law judge approved a Sept. 1 settlement agreement between staff members of the Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission (UTC) and Verizon. That decision becomes effective today following a 20-day review period.
Under the settlement, Verizon agreed to pay a penalty of $39,600 for violating state law by overcharging Washington Telephone Assistance Program (WTAP) customers on 47 occasions and for incorrectly billing city taxes to 26 customers who reside outside city limits. WTAP is the state program designed to make sure low-income families and individuals in our state have access to affordable telephone service.
Verizon also agreed to pay $10,000 toward a statewide WTAP public educational campaign to promote the rate discounts that help low-income residents maintain access to local telephone services. The program, spearheaded by the UTC, began last week.
The agreement calls for an additional penalty of $39,900 to be suspended and waived after six months if Verizon complies with the terms of the settlement.
Editor’s note: A copy of today’s filing may be found at http://www.utc.wa.gov/090073