Verizon might owe you some money

It's not too often that a phone company pays you, but if you had a Verizon Family SharePlan up to 13 years ago, you could be due some money. That's the result of a $64 million settlement of a lawsuit that accused the telecommunications giant of overcharging its customers.

The proposed settlement affects those who had one of the family plans between May 11, 2002, and May 10, 2006. Verizon allegedly was charging customers for calls between each other that were supposed to be free. In addition, it was accused of charging additional users 45 cents per minute for calls in excess of the monthly allotment rather than the 25-cent per minute rate the primary user paid for such calls.

Under the proposed settlement, Verizon has to pay $36.7 million that will go into a settlement fund and another $27.5 million in "calling units" that can be redeemed for international or domestic calls. For those who are still Verizon customers, the cash could be used as credits toward bills, depending on what the settlement administrator decides, while the remainder would be distributed by check.

Under the proposal submitted to the court, those affected by the settlement will be contacted by mail or email regarding their eligibility and will be asked to submit a claim form.

The settlement isn't expected to be finalized until sometime next year.

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    Mitch Lipka is an award-winning consumer columnist. He was in charge of consumer news for AOL's personal finance site and was a senior editor at Consumer Reports. He was also a reporter for The Philadelphia Inquirer and the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, among other publications.