Story 2015-05-13 8ZDE Verizon, Sprint customers to get refunds for fraudulent "cramming" charges

Verizon, Sprint customers to get refunds for fraudulent "cramming" charges

in legal on (#8ZDE)
All 50 state attorney generals, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, and the Federal Communications Commission, reached settlements with Sprint and Verizon Wireless that include $158 million in payments to resolve allegations that Sprint and Verizon placed unauthorized, third-party charges on consumers' mobile telephone bills, a practice known as "cramming."

Consumers who have been "crammed" often have 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. Sprint and Verizon are the third and fourth mobile telephone providers to enter into nationwide settlements to resolve allegations regarding cramming. Similar settlements with AT&T were announced in October of 2014 ($105 million), and T-Mobile in December of 2014 ($90 million). All four mobile carriers announced they would cease billing customers for commercial PSMS in the fall of 2013.

Sprint will provide $50 million and Verizon will provide $70 million directly to consumers who were victims of cramming. Consumers can submit claims under the redress programs by visiting and/or On those websites, consumers can submit claims, find information about refund eligibility and how to obtain a refund, and can request a free account summary that details PSMS purchases on their accounts.
Reply 3 comments

Refunds never cover costs (Score: 1)

by on 2015-05-13 22:39 (#909N)

I moved telco a few years back for mobile phone only. New telco was all good and there were no issues. Old telco kept sending bills. A year after disconnecting I gathered up notes from several phone calls and emails pointing out that the account had been *disconnected*, typed up a letter threatening legal action for wasting my time with a cease and desist demand for them to stop billing me for mobile charges on a closed account. It worked. Eventually. I have no idea what was wrong with their system other than it was capable of adding charges to a closed account.

not enough to matter (Score: 3, Interesting)

by on 2015-05-14 17:24 (#922F)

if you want a punishment to have a lasting effect, you have to actually charge people with a crime. start putting executives in jail and you might see companies stop trying to pull this crap. short of that, the fine has to be crushing. seriously, $150M is written off as a cost of business expense. hit them with a $150B fine and you will get real change.

Re: not enough to matter (Score: 1)

by on 2015-05-15 15:25 (#945Q)

150 Million is enough to catch any businesses attention, 150 Billion can't be covered without destroying any business I know of, including big oil and Apple.

The goal - they're going to have to justify a lack of 150 Million in value to their stock holders.Start threatening Sprint with having to explain their spastic coverage and Verizon with their data-caps that keep subscribers away in the package and everything should be good.