AT&T cramming refunds: $88 million on the way, FTC says

The first batch of checks went out Thursday in what federal regulators call the biggest settlement ever in a “cramming” case — $88 million in credits and refunds to current and former AT&T  customers for mobile phone charges they did not authorize.

The Federal Communications Commission said 2.7 million customers are affected, the most ever in such a case that the agency administered.

Cell phone captureThe average refund check: $31.

Unsolicited charges were often $9.99 a month, for services such as ringtones, wallpapers and text message subscriptions. The refunds relate to 2014 settlements.

“AT&T received a high volume of complaints related to mobile cramming prior to the FTC and other federal and state agencies stepping in on consumers’ behalf,” said FTC Chairwoman Edith Ramirez. “I am pleased that consumers are now being refunded their money and that AT&T has changed its mobile billing practices.”

AT&T said when the settlements were first announced it had “rigorous protections in place to guard consumers against unauthorized billing” but ultimately chose to discontinue this kind of third-party billing. The settlement gave customers who believed they were wrongfully billed the ability to get a refund, the company said at the time.

Here’s what’s next for customers who submitted claims during the settlement process, according to the FTC:

  • Nearly 2.5 million AT&T customers will get a credit on their bill within the next 75 days.
  • About 300,000 former AT&T customers will receive a check. The first round of checks was mailed Thursday.

Questions about your refund? Officials say you can reach the refund administrator at 1-877-819-9692.

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