According to federal and state lawmakers, AT&T’s wireless division is set to pay out $105 million in refunds and penalties for unlawfully billing customers’ accounts.
$80 million will be going to the Federal Trade Commission, who will in turn use the money to refund AT&T customers who were subjected to charges for things like ring tones and horoscope texts. The additional $25 million will be paid to the 50 states, District of Columbia, and Federal Communications Commission as a fine for the practice, known as “mobile cramming.”
AT&T issued the following statement in the wake of the ruling:
“While we had rigorous protections in place to guard consumers against unauthorized billing from these companies, last year we discontinued third-party billing for Premium Short Messaging Services.
Today, we reached a broad settlement to resolve claims that some of our wireless customers were billed for charges from third parties that the customers did not authorize. This settlement gives our customers who believe they were wrongfully billed for P.S.M.S. services the ability to get a refund.”
The F.T.C. has leveled similar charges against T-Mobile, who will contest it in court.
In the interim, AT&T will get in touch with customers about the settlement and the refund program. If you’re one of those who believe you were forced to pay one of these charges, you can submit a refund claim at www.ftc.gov/att or contact the settlement administrator at 1-877-819-9692.