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AT&T’s $105 million “cramming” settlement leads to refunds

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Ongoing efforts by the FTC and its federal and state partners to stop mobile cramming have resulted in a whopping $105 million dollar settlement with AT&T — the biggest to date with a prominent mobile phone carrier. Even better news for affected AT&T customers? They might be eligible for a refund. 

According to the FTC, AT&T Mobility, LLC allegedly charged consumers’ mobile phone bills for third-party subscriptions or services that they never ordered or authorized. Many consumers weren’t aware they had been paying — up to $9.99 per month — for seemingly random horoscope text messages, flirting tips, celebrity gossip, wallpaper or ringtones that showed up on their phones.

How were consumers supposed to know about the charges? According to the FTC, AT&T didn’t make it easy. The complaint alleges the phone bills sent to consumers were deceptive because the company lumped together all the charges to make it look like everything was related to AT&T’s mobile phone services. So when a consumer saw the overall balance due, the hidden charges were hard to detect. Even consumers who regularly checked their phone bill line by line every month missed them.

So what’s the bottom line for AT&T consumers affected by the settlement?

  • AT&T will make sure from now on that they have your consent before billing you for third-party charges. 
  • If you contact AT&T about unauthorized third-party charges on your bill, they will provide a refund unless the company has information you consented to the charge.
  • AT&T will continue offering consumers the option to block all third-party charges. Other phone carriers, not just AT&T, offer third-party blocking service for free. Ask your phone carrier about services to block these charges.

Consumers can find out more information about the refund process and submit claims by visiting FTC.gov/att. Unsure if you are eligible for a refund? Contact the FTC’s refund contractor at 1-877-819-9692 for more information. And remember, the FTC never requires consumers to pay money or give financial information to get a refund check.

Blog Topics: 
Money & Credit

Comments

The press release announcing the settlement with AT&T has more information about the case.

If you have a complaint about a company, please go to ftc.gov/complaint and provide as much information as you're comfortable sharing. Blog comments aren't part of the complaint database that law enforcment uses to investigate.

I have had serious health issues and att is telling me I missed the deadline to file for a refund. Does anyone know how I can still get my refund. I do qualify they said. They laughed. I think we should not have to fill out, they should apply credit to our bill. Auto...just like they deduct wrongly from our accounts. Don't you?

Yes, the deadline to file a claim for a refund in this case was May 1, 2015.

This case is about mobile customers being charged without their permission for third-party services like ringtones, wallpapers, and text message subscriptions for horoscopes, flirting tips, and celebrity gossip. Go to ftc.gov/att to read about the case settlement.

at&t has good ideas as for as uverse but the service is horrible. as far as the equipment they make you rent that they don't know if its used or new that's ridiculous they call themselves uverse. they cant fix anything right but change your so called new or refurbished equipment the technicians need to go back to school.

When can I expect my refund

The FTC hired Epiq Systems to process refund requests for this case. If you have questions, call 1-877-819-9692.

The “NOTIFICATION” from ATT was printed in WHITE on a light ORANGE background which I could NOT READ. Due to several FAILED EYE Operations by VA in 2013 (1 in May, 1 in June & 2 in July) I have been UNABLED to DRIVE, WORK or READ many documents. Finally in November 2013 VA Drs. Advised me that they DID NOT HAVE A DR. On-Staff or Available to RETURN my VISION. I was advised to “FIND a Dr. & PAY for the NECESSARY SURGARY to SEE PROPERLY AGAIN.
After months of Research, Dr. visits & Exams, an Operation PARTIALLY IMPROVED my VISION in May 2014. I STILL CANNOT DRIVE or Work and my vision has NOT RETURNED to MY VISION Level prior to the May 2013 VA Operation. I had EXTENSIVE CONVERSATIONS with ATT Peersonnel & Various SUPERVISORS regarding my “VARYING” monthly bills, none of which resulted in any CREDITS to my Account.
I specifically recall a conversation with a CSR who stated, “There are so many different Tax Rates based on Individual States, Counties & Cities or Towns that we cannot EXPLAIN them in DETAIL. We are in the State of Washington and you are in Ohio.” I states, “Today you have COMPUTERS to track that DATA.,” Her Supervisor CONFIRMED that: “ATT has NO CAPABILITY to BREAK OUT the SPECIFICS of a PARTICULAR BILL.” I gave up calling & PAID THE BILL. ATT was and still is the ONLY Cellular Carrier that maintains a signal at my residence site; other Suppliers failed to maintain a signal here.

You can file a complaint with the FTC at ftc.gov/complaint. Or, follow this link to get the address of your state Attorney General and local consumer protection agencies.

it's the responsavility of at&t wireless to protect the consumer. we pay$$$$ and we trust corporations to keep it that way. at&t wireles lied to me and open a extra line on my bill and i had to pay it off because i didn't need it it and i didn't wanted it. i have at&t internet at home and even if connected my data runs and i get charge for going into the internet on my cellphone wish it shouldn't do. i used to have unlimmited data,text and calling and at the end i got screwed and they tell you,( thank you for being a loyal customer of at&t )what at&t it's really saying is>>>thank you for giving us nore of your hard working money and keep on working like a slave so we can take more ). trust me , at&t wireless got me good and will get you too... thiefs

I have had for over a year been overcharge by att.

I have been having the same problems. sometimes i get alert messages 2 times a month informing me that they have added another GB and that they have charge an additional &15 to my bill. for the last 3 months my bill has exceeded $400.00

For all that was said on this subject the exact thing all of it happened to me as well... It seems as if I my paycheck every week was going to at&t .. I called several times to ask why my bill... Every month basis my bill was always higher each month??? Literally always $100 to $200 more each month but of course they had their excuses for everything...I kept getting text msgs every hour all day 7 days a week .... They said I needed to get on a plan with more gb... I believe I was on a 20 gb plan ànd still wasn't enough... Then on the last time I spoke with them to them bc my bill got up to over 1,000 and they said bc I changed my plan there was a charge... Bc I was either in the beginning of bill cycle or end of cycle idk .....

how i can file a claim?!

The deadline for filing a claim has passed. It was May 1, 2015.

I called the refund contractor number and all they told me was the date I filed my claim. Where can you fine out if you were actually qualified for a refund and the amount of the refund? They were not helpful at all.

Att are smiling liars

Refunds/Credits will not go out until Fall 2015

What is the average amount refund that can be expected? Also, when do you see the refunds being sent out? Thank you.

Please contact the FTC’s refund contractor at 1-877-819-9692 for more information.

I have been notifing att that we were only using our Wi-Fi & they still had us over charged & we had the 10 gb plan. but we were under contract. then I had some serious health problems & did not know that I had to sign up on this refund suit on the computer by may 2015. att told be that I didn't have to sign up because anyone who was over charged was going to be included in the lawsuit. my friend told me yesterday that I was suppose to sign up on a website by may 2015. so they stuck it to me again......

I was with ATT for several years i finally left them at the end of 2012 because my bill kept getting added charges and even when they would talk to me on the phone oh we can take that charge off and we will block the subscription it would be right back the following month and that went on for several years not just months I know have Verizon prepaid all together cheaper than any contract phone i get unlimited talk and text and 1 GB maybe 3 GB of data for 45.00 a month so i am not ever going back to contract phone i hope that this settlement makes them stop the cramming but i have my doubts

I did not file a claim, however I just received a refund check from ATTM Settlents. Is this legit or a scam? I have been moving alot, so how would they know my mailing address if I have not used AT$T in years?

Every since I have been with AT&T they have been over charging me; my bill is suppose to be $63 a month, but every time I look around they are trying to charge me any where from $121 to over $200 for simple internet, and home phone; I be thinking am I the only one they be trying to rip off.

I have been with At&t for over 14 years also and I am being charged data overage for data that didn't use my current bill is $500 due to data overage and I have Wi-Fi on phone I am getting over data usage text every hour

When r they pose to refund us ???

Millions of consumers submitted claims. The claims are being screened and reviewed. The FTC will update the AT&T Refunds page when new information is available.

When can we expect the refund check? I called the FTC number but it's automated and no information on the website about the refund. I filed back in October and still nothing. How much are they looking to give everyone that filed a claim?

Millions of consumers submitted claims. The claims are being screened and reviewed. The FTC will update the AT&T Refunds page when new information is available.

When are checks coming?

Millions of consumers submitted claims. The claims are being screened and reviewed. The FTC will update the AT&T Refunds page when new information is available.

I submitted my claim, but still have not gotten anything back about it... Who do I need to call or email to find out what happened to my refund???

Millions of consumers submitted claims. The claims are being screened and reviewed. The FTC will update the AT&T Refunds page when new information is available.

When can we expect to receive our settlement?

Millions of consumers submitted claims. The claims are being screened and reviewed. The FTC will update the AT&T Refunds page when new information is available.

where is the refunds they told me the falloff 2015

Millions of consumers submitted claims. The claims are being screened and reviewed. The FTC will update the AT&T Refunds page when new information is available

I paid my sons bill in june 2015. He had customer service on speaker phone...they asked "should we keep this credit card on file?" He plainly said no! They keep taking money out of my account now! I'm scared after reading this blog. He closed his account this month Sept. and I'm afraid the charges won't stop

I have had AT&T since 2005. How do I know if I have a refund due me and how do I get it?

The deadline for requesting a refund has passed.

My statement with my phone bill did not say an end date to apply-it just said the dates that were affected this claim should be allowed and the refund given.I have had AT&T since 2005 and am very satisfied;if a refund is due I really feel I should be eligible due to no date being listed and due to the fact that I come under the affected years. Thank you.

In October 2014, the FTC created a page about the AT&T cramming refunds.

The deadline to file a claim for a refund was May 1, 2015.

Has anyone heard when the refunds are supposed to be processed?

Millions of consumers submitted claims. The claims are being screened and reviewed. The FTC will update the AT&T Refunds page when new information is available.

when will the refund come. my girlfriend said att sent her a check for $3000. wow send mine please

Millions of consumers submitted claims. The claims are being screened and reviewed. The FTC will update the AT&T Refunds page when new information is available.

SKY....When did she get her check and was it for this settlement???

I know several have gotten refunds this week I myself did not receive one why I don't know since I have been with att for 17 years and 4 smart phones were charged So guess I got screwed over again but several peole said they got checks for wait for it .20 cents 11 cents 1.75 and so on my son n law for one for 18.00 so to the ones that got something good for you guess I am passed over

The FTC hasn't sent refunds yet in the AT&T matter.

Millions of consumers submitted claims. The claims are being screened and reviewed. The FTC will update the AT&T Refunds page when new information is available.

How do I know it this applies to me and my 2 other family members on my account? If it applies to me, how do we remedy this situation? Thank you for your assistance in this situation.

The deadline for filing for a refund has passed. The deadline was May 1, 2015.

You can read the 2014 press release to learn more about the settlement.

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