AT&T Agrees $80 Million Compensation for Incorrect Charges

by Istvan Fekete on October 9, 2014

AT&T has agreed to pay $80 million to the Federal Trade Commission to provide refunds to consumers whom the carrier unlawfully billed for unauthorized third-party charges. The refunds are part of the $105 million settlement the carrier has signed with federal and state law enforcement officials.

The full amount also includes $20 million in penalties and fees paid to 50 states and the District of Columbia, alongside a $5 million penalty paid to the FCC.

The settlement aims to put an end to an investigation initiated by federal and state law enforcement officials based on complaints against AT&T. The investigation found that AT&T billed its customers for hundreds of millions of dollars in charges originated by other companies, usually in amounts of $9.99 per month for services such as subscriptions for ringtones, text messages containing love tips, horoscopes, and other “fun facts”.

The FTC complaint alleges AT&T kept at least 35% of the charges it imposed on its customers.

“I am very pleased that this settlement will put tens of millions of dollars back in the pockets of consumers harmed by AT&T’s cramming of its mobile customers,” said FTC Chairwoman Edith Ramirez. “This case underscores the important fact that basic consumer protections – including that consumers should not be billed for charges they did not authorize – are fully applicable in the mobile environment.”

So, starting October 8, consumers who believe they were charged by AT&T without their authorization, can visit www.ftc.gov/att and submit a refund request, as well as find information about the FTC’s refund program under the settlement.

The AT&T case is the seventh mobile cramming case since last year and the second against a mobile carrier this year. The first 2014 case was against T-Mobile and filed in July, but that case is ongoing.

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Written by: Istvan Fekete. www.digitcom.ca. Follow TheTelecomBlog.com by: RSS, Twitter, Facebook, or YouTube.

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