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

Has this been resolved? I have not heard anything more since submitting the claim form.

2016 is almost finish and the ATT refund is missing or something like that? I am seriously thinking, to contract a private lawyer. You, the FTC, contracted Epiq Systems to receive the millions from ATT (THEY, ATT PAID IN FULL, TWO YEARS AGO), calculate every case and send checks to us. Why you don't ask Epiq System the status of that payments? You contracted them! You suppose to follow this case and what is happening. This case and two year of waiting is intolerable!
I will not wait more...

Is not really that hard to understand. This is yet another Federal Agency's usual mismanagement of funds. At least if they pocketed the monies or even the interest on the monies, one would say they had a plan!

EVERY BILL THAT I RECEIVEEVERY MONTH IS MORE THAN I OWE

HEllo, i just finished a phone conversation with a ATT representative, and I can't believe that after two hours on the phone and waiting for someone to help to clear up why there is a $650 ATT phone bill, this ATT rep hangup on me!!! During the conversation he kept saying the $650 for the 300 Megabits was legitimate and .... all he could do was to help me to make payment plan for the fact that i had never used their data at all!!!!!

When do we get our refund?

Please watch for the fraudulent trick AT&T uses to promote its sales. Back in August I was offered $300 Vis card Gift reward if I add land line & Internet to my Direct TV services. since I haven't received such gift I called AT&T several times, they put me on hold to talk to their manager and after 10 to 15 minutes the line was cut up. this matter happens to me several times. then they referred me to their reward center and its website to check the status of my reward; the status of my reward shows I received a note; since I didn't respond, it was expired after 25 days. The person I talked with back in August didn't explain the process of activating the gift card and the fact that there's a 25 days limit time for claiming the reward. this is exactly the trick AT&T is using. I called reward center today and I was on hold for over 50 minutes. I assume how busy they are with the messed up rewards people was promised.

Got a $199 check from the settlement yesterday...no longer want to continue business with a company that was stealing from me. Letter with the check suggested I cash it quickly...limited funds from AT&T for a refund....I think not.

I received a letter From FTC today stating I was denied because AT&T Mobility already gave me a FULL REFUND DIRECTLY!!! I did not get a refund from AT&T Mobility. I just go off the phone with them spoke to them they said nothing was ever credited to my account in the past year. Anyone know what to do? called the FTC just now , will call back on Monday

Received a letter from the “Refund Administrator” regarding the settlement between AT&T Mobility, LLC. The letter states “You have already received a full refund directly from AT&T Mobility, LLC.” I called, 1-877-819-9692 to find out (1) when did I receive the refund and (2) how much was the refund. Due to the high volume, I was ask to leave my name and a call back number. A week later, I received a call and ask when and how much. The reply was I received a full refund between 2009-2014. They could not be more specific so I ask how much? They could not tell me how much.

I tried asking the same questions several different ways and the answers were the same. I received a refund between 2009-2014 and they did not know the amount.

Have anyone received a letter from the Refund Administrator stating you’ve received a full refund? If so, what did you do to find out exactly when did you receive it and how much was the refund?

I have a very short story when it comes to att. It is unbelievable what they have tried to charge in in just one and one half month. $112.11 + 450.00. No way. This is just wrong.

So, I get a letter in the mail regarding the settlement. It tells me I won't get a refund, that the decision is final!!! What kind of bull is that? I have been waiting patiently all this time. I had a contract with AT&T, and I am told I don't get a refund? How many others got a disappointing letter???

This is not a comment but a question if anyone could answer that would be helpful to my problem: I paid $100 deposit for wifi hookup went back two days later to cancel due to us having to move they told us it would be 10-15 days this was on Jan 6. I talked to numerous people from customer service they told me this many days and that many days just giving me the run around. So i went back to the store on March 8 They said 5-7 days it's been 3 months and still haven't received anything what should I do

Check out the strategies listed in Solving Consumer Problems.

I was told I was being put in ubasic for 24 dollars and I was put on ufamily for 69!!! I'm glad calls are recorded and I wrote down guy I'd number! He is going down!!

$105m is nothing to AT&T. That's why they're still systematically scamming people in every way they can as a matter of course. We need a law that mandates a standardized, easily-read format for billing, services, and contracts, and we need to charge them (and all the other tvcos/telcos) $100m PER OFFENSE.

I have been overcharged by at&t for prepaid intl card. I authorized $37.61 on Sun, last, spoke w/Tatiana, and now find I have been charged $37.61 TWICE.Don't even try to reach a human,unless it's to take ur Money x2, it will not be possible. $37.61 is not a lot, but I will have to sue for it, as it was taken 2x, w/out my permission. Congrats on ur phone system, and website,both optionless and devoid of resource. You are despicable, and I will spread the word.

WHERE is my refund?

My family was victim to the third party charges on our family plan along with fraudulent data overages. I switched to att prepaid 45 dollars a month plan with 6 gigs of high-speed however lately they are throttling my data from about 10 am to 11pm so I can barely load a webpage much less watch a video or listen to music. I'll be switching to another carrier prepaid plan. Can't trust AT&T they have been crooked and getting sued for years. I'm paying 50 a month to have no high speed all day. Better options out there.

How I can apply?

I just received a letter from a third party that I had a refund check. I dont want to go through them. Does anyone know who I can contact to get my check?

It may not be defined as "cramming", but AT&T billing customers for services they didn't use after cancelling their account strikes me as fraudulent.

I had a terrific fight getting a month's extra charges deleted from my account, which had been paid in full. It'd be worthwhile for the FTC to investigate how prevalent this behavior is, and to sock AT&T for damages (as well as reimbursing everyone who was illegimately charged after deciding to switch to another phone company).

They don't tell you that you Global Either! I'm disapointed in them.. I been with At&t fir 10 years but I guess At&t is getting there cut as well.

Have they ever taken anyone to court for owing 535dollars? I am on a fixed income and don't understand any of this tech stuff. I can't pay that but I'm wondering if they will actually take me to court? They always overcharge but get away with it cause us senior citizens don't get it.

The federal government has a free public service to help older adults find services in their communities. You can call 1-800-677-1116 and ask about help paying bills or getting low-cost phone service. Or, you can go online to the Elder Care Locator.

 

I have been callling at&t since June of high bill and very bad service we been have issue with network, my bill went to high

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