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FTC sends $88 million in mobile cramming refunds

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Today, the FTC is returning more than $88 million to AT&T customers who were charged by other companies for “premium text message services.” These charges appeared on AT&T phone bills even though the customers hadn’t agreed to the charges — that’s according to the FTC, the Federal Communications Commission, all 50 states and the District of Columbia. In fact, many people weren’t even aware they had been paying — up to $9.99 per month — for services like ringtones, wallpapers, and text message subscriptions.

When a company adds charges to your phone bill without your consent, it’s called cramming. The FTC’s settlement with AT&T represents the most money ever returned in a cramming case. More than 2.7 million people will get refunds — that’s more than in any case administered by the FTC to date.

So, how does $88 million make its way from the FTC to you? Here are some of the highlights:

  • First, the FTC hired a refund administrator to manage the process.
  • Over the next 6 months, we accepted more than 5 million claims from AT&T customers. (Some people submitted more than one claim.)
  • As required by the court, the refund administrator made sure that each claim was valid and calculated how best to distribute the funds.
  • The FTC also added money recovered in two related FTC cases, Tatto and Acquinity, against companies that added charges to people’s phone bills.
  • The court required that an independent auditor review each step of the process. Once the auditor approved the final plan, the refund administrator prepared, printed, and mailed checks and letters.

Here’s what’s next:

  • Current AT&T customers will get a credit on their bill within the next 75 days.
  • Former AT&T customers will receive a check. The first round of checks was mailed today.

If you have questions about your refund, you can reach the refund administrator at 1-877-819-9692.

Tagged with: cell phone, refunds
Blog Topics: 
Money & Credit

Comments done good to many people but me i am not still get chance from the given refunds.

Hi, I was charged for three third party charges on my single line and I didn't notice it as I had enabled Autopay, lost something between $400-450, I do have the copies of my bills saved. Will I be reimbursed the whole amount by at&t or a fraction of it?

I received a letter that I got a refund from ATT but I haven't been with them over a year now, what gives?

Don't even wait the check are 15 dollars not worth waiting very sad.

My refund was $11

just got a check for $156 that's nice before Christmas! thanks!

How? IF the avg refund is 31.00? I do not understand how they are breaking these up?

hire a personal attorney and file your own claim. this is being settled under a class action and that is divided up between everyone.

thanks ftc for getting me a complete refund from those con artists at&t in conjunction with their scamming cohorts bullroarer. luckily for me I happened upon an article in the business section of a newspaper back when they announced they were going after at&t for ripping off their own customers. I recall in the article it said at&t would contact anyone affected by their scam. I haven't been contacted by them yet and if I didn't see that article I likely would have never known about this settlement. because of at&t's scam they've lost a customer for life. I will NEVER buy ANY of at&t's goods or services EVER again. good riddance crooks!

We received one of these 'checks' as part of the settlement and my bank hasn't accepted it yet because their bank won't let them know that it's a valid check. This has been going on for about a week now...thanks for nothing

There shouldn't be any difficulty in validating the check. If you're having trouble, please contact the refund administrator at 1-877-819-9692.

We only got a measly $15.20. I thought it was supposed to be 9.99 a month, from my calculations that's over $700. So what is going on?

I submitted a refund claim. I got a notice it had been received, but my last name was misspelled on the notice. I contacted the Refund Administrator at the time and was told it would be corrected. Then, before the holidays, I got a letter dated December 12 saying "Your claim has been denied because AT&T Mobility LLC's customer records did not show you were entitled to a refund. This decision is final." MY NAME WAS STILL MISSPELLED ON IT!!!! How did they locate my customer record if my name was misspelled??????? I tried calling 1-877-819-9692 but never got through. If my name had been spelled correctly on the letter, I could take their word that I wasn't entitled to a refund, but this situation seems a little fishy to me. :(

Have you tried calling from a different phone, outside of your own. It may be that a certain entity unknown to you is screening/filtering your calls, msg's, data. And only allowing you to see what they want you to. Does it sometimes seem like you're getting tabloid news from your internet?

My friend received $140.00 for the refund. She has only been with ATT for three years and she never filed for a claim. I have been with ATT for 10 years and received not one penny. My charges monthly for two lines is astronomical. Single mother of four, live pay check to pay check. I have spoken to ATT several times and to no avail. Each time they say they will correct all the bogus charges but never have. I am dropping ATT.

We have had two phones for over a year and have not been contacted by AT&T regarding any refund. Should we be getting $30 total or that amount for each phone?

The refunds are related to activity that happened more than one year ago, before you had AT&T.

We've been a customer with AT&T since they changed from Cingular. We have 5 lines and I've noticed many extra charges with AT&T bill. They deny the extra charges and say its part of the bill. How can we verify these extra unknown charges?

Hello, My refund check - dated December 12, 2016 - was returned to me as "unpaid" and bank stamped it "DO NOT REDEPOSIT" because the account from which it was drawn was CLOSED. Thoughts? help? Thanks FTC!

So I called to see why I haven't received my refund I was told that I never did a claim but I have confirmation and was told that they accept email because I screen shot it they are playing games

Received a letter telling me my claim was denied because my eligible refund amount was less that $5. If they are going to credit my account it should not matter if it is less than $5. How many people were denied because of that?? How much money did they put in their pockets by denying under $5.00 claims???

That is despicable! FTC why do these crooks keep getting away with things

My bill has been $202 for the last couple of years. Now it just came and it was $145! The credit was $56 something. Will my bill just be lower or will there be a credit every month?

The money you got was a refund for being overcharged on your phone bills. It was a one-time refund, and it made your phone bill lower for one month. It won't happen again next month.

Well it seems ATT doesnt intend to pay any refunds for the 6 accounts I had for 10 years. Not a penny has showed up and I doubt they will be able to pay me back anything as a refund through and ATT account because I left them, I am no longer their customer. So ATT keep your refund, I wont pay you the final bill on mine then. I'll just resend you the final bill asking you to deduct what you owe me on the refund. There.

How do I get my refund?

Well we have had 6 lines for over 15 years with att and today I got my check. Wow, $15.20. Out of how many millions of dollars? Seriously, well, glad the lawyers got their money first, hahaha.

i'm get check $15. but i don't get cash end i mail to net spend is my prepaid account then i don't see any deposit on my account

I got a check for amount of $46.52 and when I deposit it to my checking account my bank returned it for no fund in their bank account....

The FTC sent checks to some people in December. People were supposed to cash those checks within 60 days.

If you have questions about your refund, you can call the refund administrator at 1-877-819-9692.

My bill has been $250 every month now in March my bill is $450 ??
I'm I paying these some of this $88 million back for AT&T??

We had 13 lines and $2,646.00 worth unauthorized charges. I have yet to receive a refund on our bill and they have told me that we are only receiving $98.26 back. How are people with one or two lines receiving more back? Unfair!

If you have questions about your refund, you can reach the refund administrator at 1-877-819-9692.

Hello, The FTC are the people who called me telling me there is nothing that they can do and that all we can do is wait to see if more money becomes available. Makes no sense to me. I understand that everybody is sharing the money, what I don't understand is how people with way fewer lines are getting refunded a higher value. Also it took them over a month to even get me an answer on how much I should be expecting back on our account.

I received a check dated April 18, 2017 in the amount of $42.60 which is larger than the average noted. I'm still a current customer of AT&T. Shouldn't I have received a credit to my account? Skeptical about depositing the check based on comments I've seen about scams.

If you have questions about your refund, you can reach the refund administrator at 1-877-819-9692.

Is it to late to file a claim?

I received a check for $20.43, but it is dated October 14, 2016 and is only good for 90 days from that date--(January 14, 2017). Please give me information on having reissued to me.

If you have questions about your refund, please contact the FTC's  refund administrator at 1-877-819-9692.

I received two checks dated April 18, 2017, however I am suspicious because I still am an AT&T customer!
Please send me information regarding how to tell the authenticity of these two checks thank you

If you have questions about your refund, you can reach the refund administrator at 1-877-819-9692.

Here it is May 24, 2017 and I do not think I receive a credit on my phone bill> Because bill is the same amount. How do I find out how much refund I will be getting? I have 3 phones plus an air card for my desk top (included) on my phone bill. I know of people that received checks for over $50.00.

Current AT&T customers should have gotten a credit on their bills between December 2016 and February 2017.

Former AT&T customers should have gotten a check. The first round of checks was mailed in December 2016. If you have questions about your refund, call the refund administrator at 1-877-819-9692.

I am trying to find out how much I will be getting. The ftc people could not tell me. Said it should be a credit on my bill. There was no difference on my bill in the last 6 months. Called AT&T and they could not help me. So now what do you suggest I do?

I would liked to be put on the do not call list for all the reasons listed in your list.

I was never notified by AT&T so how do I collect my refund I was definitely billed for third party charges during that period!

If you have questions about your refund, you can reach the refund administrator at 1-877-819-9692.

i only got 175dollar

What about me they open an account under my name then give without my consent a watch to my daughter. They took from me more than $1000. I wish FTC refund me as well and help me to cancel his scam company!!

You can report a scam to the FTC at You can explain what happened. Your report will be kept online so the FTC and other law enforcement agencies can see it.


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