FTC sends $88 million in mobile cramming refunds

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


Refund please.

Had three lines.

please details me

I have had this with ATand T uverse internet.


That sure sounds good to me been with them Fifteen Years and still pay too much, Good Job keep up the Good Work

I have been with ATT since Cell phones started with the brick. Do we get more refund because we have been with them so long, or everyone gets the same, WE have three lines.

I'm sure you would get refunded what you were charged! It doesn't matter if you've been with them since dinosaurs were born if you were not charged these fees you will not get a refund! If you were charged and many times, you should get Bach all charges. This isn't a settlement for being a customer! It's a settlement for being charged for thing without your consent, that YOU did not subscribe to. So how long you've been with them does not matter, if you did not get charged these fees the FCC sued them over. Personally I think we should all sue them for recording and selling every single call and text message. Since it violates our constitutional rights of privacy. Not to mention I pay them for their cellular service, NOT to spy on me and then sell that info for even more money!

I been over charge for internet and my cell i didn't recieve anything this man from att put my phone with my internet and i didn't him to do that next thing i no my internet was with my cell phone i have a time get out of it my bill was so high i couldn't pay for it i would like some kind of refund thanks

I had being paying tons of dollars to AT&T.

Glad to know AT&T is paying up. This type of behavior from ANY company is reprehensible. That said, customers should always give their monthly statements a good review just for this reason, if nothing else.

Please send refund x4 no we can stop leagal action right?x4 years right?

looks like we waited all this time for $31.00. very disappointing.

What if one had multiple phone numbers within their family plan. Does that account get one refund or multiple refunds?

You will get only one refund per account, but your refund amount is based on the total unauthorized charges added to your account (including all phone lines) within the timeframe.

att sent me 97 cents

That is really sad. I bet you probably paid hundreds in over charges to get that 97 cents. ATT has been over billing for decades. They are crooks.

I never received any information about this. I am a former att consumer. I should be included in this settlement. I was with this company 1999 until 2014 or 2015. They never notified me. Funny how the bills always arrived but no information arrived about money the owe me.

I live overseas now but I was an AT&T customer for 15yrs up until 2012. Should I be getting a refund and how can I get it?

I hope I get a refund. they screw me every month!

att has been bilking the general public for so long, this is just a slap on the wrist. Personally, I believe the entire upper management (especially the "board"), should be jailed (one day for every dollar stolen) and any money, property and/or stock of theirs should be distributed to homeless and domestic shelters...without any excuses or loophole appeals!!!
It would re-institute honor and ethics in the business community.

Dear sir thank for report

What about unlimited data throttling? They should pay up for that too.

AT & T was a nightmare for my children & I, Every mouth there'd be an excuse why my bill was over 200., I begain living pay check to pay check, paying what I could to keep our phones on. It was like having a car payment without the car. I finally bailed, I'm happy for those who get some of their money back. Thank You for exposing them.

@dc: I'm very disappointing too. Last night I wrote a comment here; but my comment was censored because I asked several questions that seem not pleasing to the FTC. Maybe this comment will be censored too.

I've been with AT&T for years. I never received a notice to file a claim.

Only AT&T customers who had unauthorized third party charges added to their bills were eligible for a refund. AT&T was required to notify all current customers who had third party charges.

I want to say I got a check for like $2.00 a few months ago...but it was to hilarious to cash...so the credit's will def come in handy...

I think they should have to refund the 5 bucks they would charge a customer for paying their bill in cash! If this country cant accept its 'own' money, than the USA has a huge problem.

What time period does this cover? I was an AT&T customer up to approximately 2006.

What if I am a customer of AT&T still and have been for over 30+ years. Will I get some money back? Is this something I had to ask for?

Only AT&T customers who had unauthorized third party charges added to their bills were eligible for a refund. AT&T was required to notify all current customers who had third party charges.

I'll be looking for my refund. Been with ATT ever since they took over Cingular. 5 mobile phones. ...

why only $31 if had been going on a long time.....they are taking advantage of us all over again.....disgrace....

This refund I'd greatly appreciated & well deserved!

$31 ??? How much are the lawyers getting??? It's ridiculous to only pay customers such a small amount. We are the ones who paid all that - they should at least take off cost of phones - like I-phone 7.


Thanks FTC for fighting for the consumers. We won't be seeing this kind of thing once Trump takes office I am sure.

not that this moment

A whole $31! What about late fees that they would have collected. What about the other uses the money could have been used for. I mean literally this is about theft to a certain extent but whatever. I'll take it though, because we are lucky they even gave that out. WHAT A JOKE

Did not hear a thing about this and have had AT&T for years!

Ftc.is 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???

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??

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