AT&T pays $105 million for 'cramming' phone charges

GoCubsGo

macrumors Nehalem
Original poster
Feb 19, 2005
35,741
146
Some of us may get a nice fat $10 check in the mail soon!

AT&T will pay $105 million to federal and state authorities to settle charges that the carrier placed unauthorized charges for third-party services on customers' mobile phone bills, the Federal Trade Commission has announced.

Over about five years beginning in 2009, the carrier billed customers for hundreds of millions of dollars in subscriptions and premium text-messaging services, many of which were not authorized by consumers in a practice called "cramming," said FTC Chairwoman Edith Ramirez.

The nation's second-largest wireless carrier will pay the FTC $80 million to provide refunds to consumers. AT&T will pay $20 million in penalties to states and a $5 million penalty to the Federal Communications Commission.

The settlement resolves allegations that AT&T "unlawfully placed charges on its customers' mobile phone bills for monthly subscriptions that customers never authorized and didn't want," Ramirez said. "(The settlement) while focused on the fast-growing mobile industry, underscores a time-tested principle of consumer protection: Consumers must not be charged for goods or services that they did not authorize, whether it's on their mobile phone, shopping online or in a brick-and-mortar store."

Source and remainder of article:

http://www.usatoday.com/story/tech/personal/2014/10/08/ftc-att-cramming-settlement/16908401/
 

WolfSnap

macrumors 6502a
Sep 18, 2012
886
601
SoCal
I can't recall a single charge on my bill that was put there by another vendor. Ever. And I've had cell phones since the late 80's.

How does this even happen?
 

bigjim83

macrumors 6502
Dec 14, 2011
470
3
They are always throwing something on our bills. I'll take the 10 bucks I guess. No point in letting them keep it
 

12vElectronics

macrumors 68040
Jul 19, 2013
3,927
1,222
California
I can't recall a single charge on my bill that was put there by another vendor. Ever. And I've had cell phones since the late 80's.

How does this even happen?
I've always been curious as to why my bill is different every month? It's not that I'm going over my data or minutes or anything. It ranges anywhere from $75.xx - $79.xx
 

wxman2003

Suspended
Apr 12, 2011
2,580
294
You only got charged for those services if you actually added them on yourself. Remember those commericals on tv telling you to text code XXXXX to get horoscope services, joke of the day, etc? That's where those charges originated. People were foolish enough to do that, and then they got upset when they saw the additional charge. They wanted to blame the carriers when in fact they were the idiots for texting that code.
 

myscrnnm

macrumors 65816
Sep 16, 2014
1,408
874
Seattle, WA
I've always been curious as to why my bill is different every month? It's not that I'm going over my data or minutes or anything. It ranges anywhere from $75.xx - $79.xx
Same here. My AT&T bill doesn't change every single month, but every so often the price will be different and then stay that way. Based on the detailed bill, I believe these are some of those state fees and whatnot.

So first Red Bull, and now AT&T. Two more Subway five dollar footlongs.
 

12vElectronics

macrumors 68040
Jul 19, 2013
3,927
1,222
California
Same here. My AT&T bill doesn't change every single month, but every so often the price will be different and then stay that way. Based on the detailed bill, I believe these are some of those state fees and whatnot.

So first Red Bull, and now AT&T. Two more Subway five dollar footlongs.
I just find it odd that state fees and what not change monthly? Do they really change that often?!
 

myscrnnm

macrumors 65816
Sep 16, 2014
1,408
874
Seattle, WA
I just find it odd that state fees and what not change monthly? Do they really change that often?!
So I just looked at my bill history. It went up to $76.58 in October 2013, $76.73 in January 2014, $76.74 in April 2014, and $77.26 in July 2014.

I compared the last time that my bill changed. AT&T is very tricky and won't let you view more than one at a time. Here are the changes:

City Utility Users Surcharge: $2.66 - $2.69 = +$0.03
Federal Universal Service Charge: $1.90 -$1.86 = -$0.04
Regulatory Cost Recovery Charge: $0.49 - $0.98 = +$0.49

City District Sales Tax - Telecom: $0.88 - $0.89 = +$0.01
WA State Sales Tax - Telecom: $2.88 - $2.90 = +$0.02

I'm guessing they need to change that often as the government realizes how much money it needs.
 

12vElectronics

macrumors 68040
Jul 19, 2013
3,927
1,222
California
So I just looked at my bill history. It went up to $76.58 in October 2013, $76.73 in January 2014, $76.74 in April 2014, and $77.26 in July 2014.

I compared the last time that my bill changed. AT&T is very tricky and won't let you view more than one at a time. Here are the changes:

City Utility Users Surcharge: $2.66 - $2.69 = +$0.03
Federal Universal Service Charge: $1.90 -$1.86 = -$0.04
Regulatory Cost Recovery Charge: $0.49 - $0.98 = +$0.49

City District Sales Tax - Telecom: $0.88 - $0.89 = +$0.01
WA State Sales Tax - Telecom: $2.88 - $2.90 = +$0.02

I'm guessing they need to change that often as the government realizes how much money it needs.
Thanks for taking the time to compare. Looks like it's all there... it's all city/federal fees that keep changing. Don't like that they have the power to do that..
 

maliu

macrumors 6502a
Jun 24, 2010
700
18
I got a $40 check for my first iPad and the so called ability to turn unlimited data on and off. ;-)
 

Eileen89

macrumors 65816
Aug 12, 2014
1,145
338
I've never had an issue with AT&T cramming charges on any of my bills.

----------

So every AT&T line will get a $10 check or just those that had those cramming charges on their lines before?

From what I've heard, the checks will only go out to those who had reported problems with their bill. Don't know how AT&T will determine if it was cramming or not, though.
 

iceperson

macrumors 6502
Mar 31, 2014
282
139
You only got charged for those services if you actually added them on yourself. Remember those commericals on tv telling you to text code XXXXX to get horoscope services, joke of the day, etc? That's where those charges originated. People were foolish enough to do that, and then they got upset when they saw the additional charge. They wanted to blame the carriers when in fact they were the idiots for texting that code.
the carrier billed customers for hundreds of millions of dollars in subscriptions and premium text-messaging services, many of which were not authorized by consumers
Just because it never affected you doesn't mean it wasn't happening. I certainly never signed up for the fun fact of the day trash I was getting. The problem was AT&T was getting a cut of the pie, so they had no interest in blocking the fraudulent charges.
 
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