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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

I have been with AT&T for over 8 year's now,how do I go about getting the paperwork for a refund? ?

Please visit www.ftc.gov/att to apply for a refund. Or you can call 1-877-819-9692 to request a paper form. You'll need your AT&T mobile phone number or your billing account number to complete the refund request form.

Do you still have to be an Att customer?

No, former AT&T customers also are eligible for refunds. You just need your AT&T phone number or billing account number.

refund

They were charging too much for three telephone lines.

That's why I left them. Thanks

I left them in July. I was with them for a year. My account is in collections now for $1000.00. I was told many lies when I signed up with AT&T. Even accrued a ($30.00) charge for changing my number. The rep told me activation was free, that cost me $195.00. I had two phones, i barely used the data. $15.00 extra for each phone each month. The reps have a habit of treating you like they are the only network on the planet. Within a matter of 6 months I paid $2700.00 to that greedy company. My bill was a car note every month. I need phone service but I could not keep up with the bill so I left. They act real nasty when you mention T-Mobile too. The reps act like that's their company. Smh Having phone service with that company put me in a bad situation trying to keep up with the bill. My smallest bill was $250.00. One month my bill was $495.00. The last bill was $395.00. If I went to use data I just use my tablet or pc. I'm a hairstylist, I only need the phone for my customers. AT&T is full of ish.

What about the cramming they've allowed with their business land line customers? 5 years ago or so the tech service company I worked for discovered we were being billed for network fax service and internet hosting we never ordered. We had to file complaints with the FTC and State AG's office after AT&T told us it was against FCC regulations to block 3rd party billing on our phones . (because they wouldn't stop billing us) They finally called us back and said they would start blocking all 3rd party billing. (After our complaints were filed) At least one company was being sued in florida over this since they were based in that state.

Where do you click to search if you have any money to claim? Do you fill out the claim form first?

I had high cell phone bills for years. Will I receive a refund?

Please visit www.ftc.gov/att to apply for a refund. You'll need your AT&T mobile phone number or your billing account number.

I too got crammed by AT&T. How do we request refunds?

Please visit www.ftc.gov/att to apply for a refund. You'll need your AT&T mobile phone number or your billing account number.

I want to see

don't you think they have/are doing worse to landline consumers? check it out.

Ok.... So how much do folks expect to receive in this 'big refund'?
Likely $10 bucks....

I think I was over charge by att

Please visit www.ftc.gov/att to apply for a refund. You'll need your AT&T mobile phone number or your billing account number.

How do I receive my refund?

Please visit www.ftc.gov/att to apply for a refund. You'll need your AT&T mobile phone number or your billing account number.

I kept getting stupid little texts that said nothing, just a combination of sense-less words. But there was always a charge. HUMM?

My daughter and I had phones from att, the bill was supposed to be $160.00 a month but was being billed $210.00. I qquestioned that amount every month, but they kept saying it was the right amount.

I also got tired OF AT&T.
I always had answers al that taxes was the name
ATT Payback, on ilegal biz? Shane on you!
Really!×

I pay another sum

Checking to see if I have been over charged?

Hope these suckas get what they deserve. They knew what they were doing.

Comcast cable bills are the same way. Someone should look in to them as well.

I work for AT&T and honestly its very easy to find the chrage and navigate the website, also the bill is broken down very easy to read. People are just lazy and dont review it. I dont have AT&T but out of all the companies hands down the best!

Easy to read or not, AT&T should have prevented the addition of unauthorized services to customers' accounts. The ratio of unsolicited service charge to total bill amount is small enough to be missed. I would wager AT&T was quite aware of that while enjoying the extra profits. Filing for retribution is not enough for me. I'm calling customer service to leave them my thoughts for the record. AT&T and the rest of the industry are a den of thieves.

So that makes it okay for AT&T to try to put one past millions of people? You work for a company that has the absolute worst reputation in this country. Congrats dude.

I've had a few of those 9.99 issues. Always called and the charges were always reversed. I've never had an issue with att. You can always request that a block be put on your phone so you won't receive these charges. I hated the unlimited throttling, that was always BS.

I just about had a break=down trying to reason with ATT.....they just didn't care. Bill growing bigger and bigger every month. I finally had to just give up after 7 years .....couldn't pay the bill....broke the agreement and it went into collections.Terrible terrible terrible .

I had an existing wireless contract with AT&T for only two cellphones for me and for my wife up to Feb. 2015 for two 2 years. When I signed the contract that was intended for only two phones. However, on Feb. 2014, without my knowledge my wife got two I Pad and one IPhone , the rest for a friend. According to my wife, the AT&T Sales representative offered the units as no-contract but for 24 months installment. But without my permission AT&T incorporated to my Account by AT&T, my wife signed only the acknowledgement receipt stating terms and conditions . During the first billing ..Feb. 14 to March 13, 2014, it showed too huge amount of the bills, so, my wife , complained from the Customers service, subsequently, it was adjusted to at least lower, the adjustments was 68%. In the second billing was March 14 to April 13, 2014, it showed again a very big amount, this time the billing was reached to me because my wife was on vacation to Philippines. My wife'sriend who lused the other IPad and Iphone , I complaint with Customers Service which took many hours in the communication, until finally they adjusted it to a lower amount, it was adjusted by 43%. At that instant I ordered the AT&T to stop the internet service and they stopped it. Because it was stopped, AT&T, ordered me to pay the full amount of the IPad and IIphone by computing it as generated amount for the remaining months. The amount was too high, so, we bargained it to continue paying in installment as it was scheduled. It is because they can't afford for pay the whole amount and secondly, it is not proper to compute it as generated when they wanted us to pay the full outright. My wife and friend continued paying but AT&T sent me a notice of suspension and termination if not paid in full. We still continued paying the installment but my two original lines
in contract binding for two years were suspended and by June the disconnected my wireless contract. I filed a Breach of Contract case with Public Utilities and at the same time a case for overcharging og megabytes. Unfortunately, rendered judgment in favor of AT&T. When I audited the billings for particular two periods, I found out that there IPad no. ending 292 which was not known by my wife, and I scrutinized it and found out it was coming which is unbelievable to have incorporated to my Account. I found out further that in the billing Feb. 13-March 14, 2014, there 31,000+ megabytes consumed by two IPad in infact they only downloaded once. I sent letter to explained lthe discrepancy but until now she never responded. I forwarded the follow-up , to let her apprised what she did in her very biased decision of the case. So, far I am thinking Filing a Case with the Court for two main Charges. Falsification of the billings or Padding and Breach of Contract to my original wireless lines causing so much stress to my job and damages. My documents are now ready, such as, my audit report, Affidavit sworn statement from my wife and her Friend and the Billings Statements that Clearly indicated Cheating the figures of the Billing.

Nicole, I was billed for unathorized trivia in 2011 but called AT&T and got them to credit my bill. Am I still eligible for a refund with this class action lawsuit?
Thanks

I know I have been over paying, every month I paying for this or paying for that. And did not ask for it and I've been with AT&T for almost 6-7years.

I believe I am subject to this lawsuit.

I haven't been with at&t since 2011. How do I know if I'm entitled to a refund? The bills have been shredded since I left them.

I've been a customer since AT&T has had cell service. Through all the name changes and company sales..sure I'm due one..

HAVE HAD EXTREME BILLS FROM BOTH CELLULAR AND UVERSE. AM RETIRED AND THESE BILLS ARE DIFFICULT TO PAY ON SOCIAL SECURITY. WHEN THEY ARE\CONTACTED THEY ALWAYS DANCE AROUND TO JUSTIFY. IS THERE REALLY HELP WITH THIS. DO NEED THE PHONE.

I used to work for AT&T and when I started working there I learned that I was being charged for these fees for over a year... I was credited back for 3 months and had the purchase blocker applied. That was about 2 1/2 years ago now, and I am only able to see bills for the last year. Would I still be credited from those charges from that long ago? Or how far back does this claim go?

You can apply for refunds for charges that occurred after January 1, 2009.

I've had the same issue several times and when I called them to fix something that's been on my bill for over a year without me knowing, they could only refund 3 months back... I think that's bull... I should of sued At&t when they sent me a refurbished phone that caught on fire on my ear...

This is why you are encouraged to read your bill every month. I worked for AT&T and it is true they only go back 3 months. I always encouraged all customers to read their bills because paying for something for a year and then claiming you had no idea doesn't cut it.

What about prepaid costomers.....I have paid thousands of dollars to att&t and since I was a prepaid costomer wasbtreated rudely and always had to sit on the phone for an hour at a time and hope I wasnt cut off or battery dieing ....most of the time just to let them tell me I was screwed....

To Nicole Fleming I have a question, you keep saying that the refund goes back to 2009 but when the case was first settled it said that the refund goes back to 2005. Can you clarify please?

The refunds cover charges made to AT&T accounts after January 1, 2009. If you have seen an ftc.gov page with a different date, please respond with a link to that page. Thanks!

Nicole, do you ever get tired of repeating yourself over and over again when people just need to read other people's repeated questions and your same answer everytime. You seem to be very patient. :)

Haha, PT! Thanks for reading the blog AND the comments!

Haha I see where you've answered the same question over and over too

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