AT&T Caught Billing Customers For Services They Didn't Request, Pays $105M Settlement

| by Jonathan Wolfe

AT&T has been ordered to pay $105 million to federal and state authorities after the company was caught cramming unauthorized charges into their customers’ bills. Customers who believe they were billed for services they never requested can click here to submit a refund claim to the Federal Trade Commission.

An investigation found that since 2009, the company has billed customers for millions of dollars in services that were not requested. The company made a habit of billing customers for third party services like premium text messaging apps and ring tone services that customers never asked for. Even though the charges were for third party products, an investigation found that AT&T kept at least 35% of the revenue from the fraudulent charges.

The sly practice AT&T employed is referred to as “cramming.” FCC chairman Tom Wheeler spoke on the settlement today.

“For too long consumers have been charged on their phone bills for things they did not buy," he said. "It stops today for AT&T."

Wheeler estimates about 20 million American customers a year are victims of cramming. T-Mobile has also come under scrutiny recently for cramming allegations.

FTC Chairwoman Edith Ramirez says the settlement with AT&T honors a “time-tested principle of consumer protection.”

“[The settlement], while focused on the fast-growing mobile industry, underscores a time-tested principle of consumer protection: consumers must not be charged for goods or services that they did not authorize, whether it's on their mobile phone, shopping online or in a brick and mortar store,” she wrote in a statement released today.

Again, you can file a complaint here if you suspect you have been charged by AT&T for services you never requested.

Sources: FTC, USA Today