For Immediate Release
Media Contact: Todd Dvorak
(208) 334-4112

Date: December 19, 2014

Attorney General Reaches Settlement with T-Mobile over Cramming Fees

(Boise) – Attorney General Lawrence Wasden has reached a $90 million settlement with wireless network provider T-Mobile to resolve allegations the company imposed unauthorized charges on its customers’ monthly billing statements.

Wasden joined attorneys general from 49 other states and the District of Columbia in settling allegations against T-Mobile over a practice known as “cramming.” The Federal Trade Commission and Federal Communications Commission were also part of the settlement.

“Idaho consumers should not have to bear the burden of paying for mobile phone charges they never signed up for in the first place,” Wasden said. “We are seeing too many cases where charges show up on mobile phone bills for things customers never authorized. I am pleased consumers can get refunds and that T-Mobile is being held accountable for this activity.”

Under terms announced Friday, Wasden said there are about 29,000 Idaho consumers eligible for refunds available from a nationwide pool totaling $67.5 million. Individual refunds will vary, depending on the type of mobile plan, users on that plan and the amount of unauthorized charges.

The agreement with T-Mobile is similar to one reached in October with AT&T Mobility over cramming. In both instances, consumers complained about charges, usually $9.99 per month, for unauthorized premium text messaging subscription services, such as horoscopes, trivia and sports scores.

T-Mobile and AT&T joined Verizon and Sprint in late 2013 to cease billing customers for commercial premium text services.

T-Mobile has agreed to provide each cramming victim who files a claim under the Premium SMS Refund Program an opportunity for a full refund. Consumers can submit claims and learn more information by visiting the website: http://www.t-mobilerefund.com. Consumers can also call the Refund Administrator at (855) 382-6403.

The settlement requires T-Mobile to discontinue any future commercial premium text messaging subscription business. The company must also take other steps to ensure it only bills consumers for third-party charges that have been authorized, including:

  • Obtaining consumers’ express consent before billing for third-party charges and ensuring consumers are only charged for services for which they are informed of material terms and conditions of payment;
  • Giving customers the opportunity to obtain a full refund or credit when billed for unauthorized third-party charges;
  • Inform customers when they sign for services that their mobile phone can be used to pay for third-party charges, and must inform consumer of how third-party charges can be blocked;
  • Present third-party charges in a dedicated section of mobile phone bills and clearly distinguish those from T-Mobile charges.

The Office of the Attorney General received $207,500 for fees and costs associated with the investigation.

In addition, Wasden says Idaho customers of AT&T Mobility have until May 1, 2015 to file claims in an $80 million national settlement over cramming fees. Idahoans can access the claim from the Federal Trade Commission’s website at: www.ftc.gov/att.

 

- End -

News by Year:
2018
2017
2016
2015
2014
2013
2012
2011
2010
2009
2008
2007
2006
2005
2004
2003