AT&T Fined $105 Million by FTC for 'Cramming' Charges in Customer Bills

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AT&T has agreed to pay $105 million to settle charges that it tacked unauthorized charges onto customer's phone bills, in the largest such "cramming" settlement in history, the Federal Trade Commission announced on Wednesday. The settlement means some customers are due a refund. AT&T was accused of keeping 35 percent of up to $9.95 a month in extra charges for services from third-party companies that were not ordered or authorized. (T-Mobile was accused of the same thing in July in a case that it called "unfounded and without merit.") Those unwanted text messages included horoscopes, love tips, celebrity gossip, wallpaper and more, some of which the FTC posted on its website. In a statement, AT&T said that while it had "rigorous protections in place to guard consumers against unauthorized billing" from companies that would send unwanted texts, "last year we discontinued third-party billing for [Premium Short Messaging Services] services." Of the $105 million that AT&T agreed to pay, $80 million will go to a reimbursement fund for affected customers.



— Keith Wagstaff