On October 6, 2014, AT&T Mobility entered into a Stipulated Order for Permanent Injunction and Monetary Judgment without trial or final adjudication of any issue of fact or law, in order to resolve all matters in dispute in this action and the concurrent 49 multi-states and Federal Communications Commission ('FCC") investigations.
The stipulated order was filed with United States District Court Northern District of Georgia.
The FTC alleges AT&T Mobility participated in deceptive and unfair acts or practices by including unauthorized charges on the telephone bills of its mobile customers.
The FTC reached the settlement following reports of cramming from phone customers who were billed for services by third-party companies that they never authorized or wanted, such as "premium" text message subscription services (PSMS) that sent customers horoscopes, trivia and sports updates for $9.99 a month.
Cramming happens when third-party vendors use consumers' phone numbers much like a credit card. Vendors add charges to phone bills for bogus products or services, such as celebrity gossip items, horoscopes, trivia and joke-of-the-day offerings, that consumers and businesses never requested or authorized.
The parties have agreed that entry of this order fully and finally resolves all issues between them arising from or related to Premium Short Message Service "PSMS" or claims of Unauthorized Third-Party charges for all time up to the date of entry of this order and precludes further litigation between the FTC and AT&T.
The FTC and AT&T acknowledge and agree that this is a compromise settlement and AT&T neither admits nor denies the truth or falsity of any claims made in this complaint.
AT&T agrees to pay $105,000,000 as follows:
1.Judgment of $80,000,000 in favor of FTC as equitable monetary relief, including consumer redress;
2.Judgment of $20,000,000 to participating states to the Multi-States Attorneys General settlement;
3.Judgment of $5,000,000 to United States Treasury on behalf of the FCC.
4.Wisconsin will receive $308,994.42 from the settlement.
It is further ordered that:
1. No later than February 1, 2015, AT&T shall implement a process to track
(a) all Consumer claims that a Third-Party
Charge was unauthorized for which AT&T demonstrated that purchaser provided
(b) refunds/credits provided due to AT&T's
inability to provide proof of Express Informed
Consent in response to such a claim by a
(c)any other information necessary to prepare
the Quarterly Reports described in Section VIII.B. of the order.
Under the terms of settlement settlement, AT&T Mobility is required to provide $80 million in refunds to consumers who were victims of cramming. Refunds will be administered by the Federal Trade Commission. Consumers who believe they may have been a victim can learn more by visiting www.ftc.gov/att. Consumers who are unsure about their eligibility for a refund can visit the website or contact the Claims Administrator at 1-877-819-9692 for more information.
Effective December 15, 2015:
AT&T Mobility, LLC, has agreed to settle allegations that it charged mobile customers without their permission for third-party services like ringtones, wallpapers, and text message subscriptions for horoscopes, flirting tips, and celebrity gossip.
The FTC has hired Epiq Systems to process refund requests for this case. Final statuses of claims won't be known until the Spring of 2016 when the claim processing and independent audit is completed .
If you have questions, call 1-877-819-9692.