According to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), AT&T will be refunding more than $88 million to over 2.7 million users who were unfairly charged in their bills by third parties. About a couple of years ago, the major US wireless carrier had agreed to pay a penalty in the amount of $105 million as settlement for an investigation conducted by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC).
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has issued a statement revealing that it has recently entered into a settlement with major US wireless carrier AT&T, wherein AT&T will need to pay $6.8 million to wireline customers who were charged $9 a month for availing of directory assistance services that turned out to be run by scammers. The scam was originally discovered by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), and after some investigation, it was determined that that the phony directory assistance services was set up as a tool to assist in money laundering activities.
Customers of AT&T who filed for refunds after experiencing unwanted charges on their phone bills may not be able to get full reimbursement from the US major wireless carrier. The reason: there is just not enough money to go around. Yikes.
As of this writing, over 3 million current and former subscribers of AT&T have sent their applications for refunds as part of a settlement with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) over illegal charges that have been "crammed" on their phone bills. The FTC had determined that third parties had utilized the carrier's premium text messaging service and then AT&T then charged the use of this service to its subscribers.
Verizon Wireless will be paying an amount of $90 million to the Federal Communications Commission over charges of cramming, a practice that unfairly bills customers for services without their knowledge and full consent.
Also paying is fellow wireless carrier Sprint, who will be handing over an amount of $68 million over similar charges. Combined, both wireless carriers will be paying a total of $158 million in restitution and fees. $120 million of that amount will be paid to affected customers.
Verizon Wireless and Sprint now join other carriers such as AT&T and T-Mobile, who both have been hit by the FCC in the past few months over similar charges. AT&T agreed to pay a $105 million settlement while T-Mobile is to hand over $90 million.
Oops. Sprint has been busted for charging tens of millions of dollars in unauthorized third-party messaging charges to customer bills.
Moreover, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is about to issue a fine in the amount of $105 million for the carrier's dubious charges, as reported by the Wall Street Journal. Interestingly, the amount of the fine is the same as the one AT&T paid to the FCC earlier this year in a case that is similar.
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