HONOLULU – The State of Hawaii Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs (DCCA) announced today that its Office of Consumer Protection (OCP), along with 49 other states and the District of Columbia, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), and the Federal Communications Commission, reached a $105 million settlement with AT&T Mobility LLC. This action resolves allegations that the company charged for third-party services not authorized by the consumer, a practice known as “mobile cramming.”
Consumers who have been “crammed” often complain about charges, typically 9.99 per month, for “premium” text message subscription services (also known as “PSMS”), such as horoscopes, trivia, and sports scores, which the
consumers have never heard of or requested. OCP, together with the other states and federal regulators allege that cramming occurred when AT&T Mobility placed charges on consumers? mobile telephone bills for these services without the consumer’s knowledge or consent.
AT&T Mobility is the first mobile telephone provider to enter into national settlement to resolve allegations regarding cramming. AT&T Mobility was among the major mobile carriers; Verizon, Sprint and T-Mobile to announce it would cease billing their customers for commercial PSMS charges last fall.
“This settlement will result in significant protections for Hawaii customers of AT&T Mobility to prevent mobile cramming in the future,” said OCP Executive Director Bruce B. Kim. “Anyone who believes that they have been the victim of such deceptive practices should visit the FTC website as soon as possible to see if they qualify for a refund.”
Under the terms of the settlements, AT&T Mobility is required to provide $80 million in funds to refund consumers who were victims of cramming. The fund will be administered by the FTC.
Beginning today, consumers may submit claims under the AT&T Mobility cramming refund program by visiting www.ftc.gov/att, where consumers can find information about how to obtain a refund. If consumers are unsure
whether they are eligible for a refund, they can visit the claims website or contact the Claims Administrator at 1-877-819-9692 for more information.
The State of Hawaii’s DCCA Office of Consumer Protection educates and protects consumers from unlawful acts or practices by companies which may cause harm to consumers. If you have further questions about our services, contact the Office of Consumer Protection at (808) 586-2636.