AT&T Mobile is getting a taste of its own medicine: reluctantly shelling out some big cash. In particular, AT&T will be paying more than $100 million in refunds and penalties after being accused of something called "mobile cramming," typically charging customers $9.99 a month for services that consumers had no desire for.
The Idaho Attorney General's office says the cramming - or PSMS charges - stem from such things as horoscopes, trivia, and sports scores, popping up on customers' devices without them even requesting them.
The result is customers are usually charged $9.99 a month.
AT&T will pay $105 million to all 50 states, with Idaho getting $230,597 in the settlement.
Additionally, AT&T must now get a customer's express consent before billing third party charges, inform customers at the time of sign up that their mobile phone can be used to pay for third party charges, and make sure they know how to disable these services if the customer doesn’t want them.
Finally AT&T Mobile has agreed to detail billings to itemize the charges that don’t coincide with the regular AT&T charges.
“I am pleased to have worked this settlement out with AT&T Mobility to address this problem,” Idaho Attorney General Lawrence Wasden said.
This is the first time ever that a national phone provider has entered into a national agreement to resolve the issue of cramming that many companies including AT&T have been accused of doing.
Customers who suspect that they have been victims are encouraged to go to www.ftc.gov/att
and submit a claim.
“Consumers should only pay for things they agreed to buy,” said Wasden.