Mashable – T-Mobile will issue up to $90 million in refunds for billing customers for cellphone text services they didn’t order, under a settlement with federal regulators.
The Federal Trade Commission announced the agreement Friday with T-Mobile over billing for unauthorized charges, a practice known as “cramming.” T-Mobile, the fourth-largest U.S. cellphone company, is also paying $18 million in fines to the 50 states and the District of Columbia, and $4.5 million in fines to the Federal Communications Commission.
The FTC sued T-Mobile in July, accusing it of billing customers for subscriptions to text services like $9.99-per-month horoscopes or celebrity gossip updates that they didn’t want or authorize.
T-Mobile collected 35% to 40% of the charges, even after being alerted by customers that they were bogus, the FTC alleges.
“Today’s enforcement action demonstrates the Commission’s continuing commitment to work with our federal and state counterparts to protect consumers,” said FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler in a press release. “When consumers are harmed by carriers’ unscrupulous business practices, we will marshal our collective resources to seek accountability and obtain positive reforms. We are pleased to have partnered once again with the FTC and the attorneys general for all 50 states and the District of Columbia on a settlement that will bring meaningful relief to millions of consumers.”
The FCC advised former and current T-Mobile customers to visit www.t-mobilerefund.com to determine if they are eligible for a refund.
The FTC first announced its investigation into T-Mobile in July, noting that complaints about the company’s handling of these services went back to 2012. T-Mobile CEO John Legere said that the complaint was “unfounded and without merit.”
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