AT&T reaches $80 million settlement, 345K SC customers could get refunds

Nearly 350,000 South Carolinians could be eligible for refunds after federal and state officials reached an agreement with AT&T over allegations of unauthorized charges on bills.
Nearly 350,000 South Carolinians could be eligible for refunds after federal and state officials reached an agreement with AT&T over allegations of unauthorized charges on bills.

COLUMBIA, SC (WMBF) - Approximately 345,000 South Carolinians could be eligible for refunds after federal and state officials reached an agreement with AT&T over allegations of unauthorized charges on bills.

AT&T has agreed to repay $80 million to consumers across the country after federal and state officials accused the cell phone giant of "mobile cramming", the practice of placing unauthorized charges for third-party services.

The approximate amount of restitution for SC consumers reaches $1.2 million; however, the estimates are loose given many variables, the state attorney general's office stated.

Complaints about cramming typically involve $9.99 per month fee for premium text message subscription services such as horoscopes, trivia, or sports scores that consumers never heard of or requested.

Officials say many consumers were duped into signing up for these unwanted services via websites, for example when they provided their number to receive survey results or enter a contest.

In many cases, consumers had no idea they were signing up for these subscription services.

AT&T is the first mobile telephone provider to enter into a national settlement to resolve allegations regarding mobile cramming. Investigations and negotiations with Verizon, Sprint and T-Mobile are ongoing.

Last fall, all four major providers agreed to cease charging consumers for third-party subscription services.

In addition to repaying consumers $80 million, AT&T agreed to pay $20 million to the Attorneys General, and $5 million to the FCC.

For information how to file to obtain a refund, visit www.ftc.gov/att.

Our sister station, WECT contributed to this article.

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