Some AT&T Mobility Customers May Get Money Back From Company

Some AT&T Mobility customers may get some money back from the company following a $105 settlement with the government.

The company agreed to refund the money to 20-million customers.

The government said the company billed some customers for third-party services that they didn’t want or authorize in a practice known as "mobile cramming."

Kentucky will receive $283,420 for its participation in the settlement.

Consumers who were “crammed” often complained about charges – typically $9.99 per month – for “premium” text message subscription services (also known as PSMS subscriptions) such as horoscopes, trivia and sports scores that the consumers have never heard of or requested. 

Federal regulators alleged that cramming occurred when AT&T Mobility placed charges on consumers’ mobile phone bills for these services without their knowledge or consent. 

AT&T Mobility is the first mobile phone provider to enter into a national settlement to resolve allegations regarding cramming. 

AT&T Mobility was among the four major mobile carriers—in addition to Verizon, Sprint and T-Mobile—that announced it would cease billing their customers for commercial PSMS last fall.

Under the terms of the settlement, AT&T Mobility is required to provide $80 million to pay refunds to cramming victims. 

Beginning Wednesday, October 8, 2014, consumers can submit claims under the AT&T Mobility cramming refund program by visiting www.ftc.gov/att

If consumers are unsure about whether they are eligible for a refund, they can visit the claims website or call the claims administrator at 1-877-819-9692.

The settlement requires AT&T to stay out of the commercial PSMS business – the platform that law enforcement agencies attribute a large share of the mobile cramming problem. 

Additional terms of the agreement require AT&T Mobility to take steps designed to ensure that it only bills consumers for third-party charges that have been authorized, including the following:

·         AT&T Mobility must obtain consumers’ express consent before billing the consumers for third-party charges and must ensure that consumers are only charged for services if the consumer has been informed of all material terms and conditions of their payment.

AT&T Mobility must provide a full refund or credit to consumers who are billed for unauthorized third-party charges at any time after this settlement.

·          AT&T Mobility must inform its customers when they sign up for services that their mobile phone can be used to pay for third-party charges, and the company must inform them of how to block those third-party charges if they do not want to use their phone as a payment method for third-party products.

·        AT&T Mobility must present third-party charges in a dedicated section of consumers’ mobile phone bills, must clearly distinguish them from AT&T Mobility’s charges and must include in that same section information about the consumers’ ability to block third-party charges.

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