JACKSON, MS – Attorney General Jim Hood says a $158 million settlement has been reached with Cellco Partnership d/b/a Verizon Wireless (“Verizon”) and Sprint Corporation (“Sprint”).
The settlements have resolve allegations that the companies billed consumers for third-party services that were not authorized. This is known as “mobile cramming.”
AT&T and T-Mobile were involved in similar settlements in 2014. Sprint and Verizon are the last two providers to be involved in the nation-wide settlement to resolve the cramming allegations. A total of $846,136.21 has been netted by Mississippi in the wake of the national mobile cramming settlements with all four mobile carriers. Attorney General Hood says:
“Consumers who have been ‘crammed’ often have charges, typically $9.99 per month, for “premium” text message subscription services such as horoscopes, trivia, and sports scores that the consumers have never heard of or requested.”
According to an official release, “Under the terms of the settlements, Sprint will pay $68 million and Verizon will pay $90 million. Of these amounts, Sprint and Verizon are required to provide $50 million and $70 million, respectively, to consumers who were victims of cramming. Sprint and Verizon will each distribute refunds to harmed consumers through redress programs that will be under the supervision of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Sprint will also pay $12 million to the Attorneys General and $6 million to the Federal Communications Commission. Verizon will also pay $16 million to the Attorneys General and $4 million to the Federal Communications Commission.”
Consumers can find information about refund eligibility, how to obtain a refund, how to get a free account summary (detailing PSMS purchases), and how to submit claims, at http://www.SprintRefundPSMS.com and/or http://www.CFPBSettlementVerizon.com. They can also call settlement administrators at: (877) 389-8787 (Sprint), and/or (888) 726-7063 (Verizon).
After the settlements, each carrier is required to stay out of the commercial PSMS business and must have a plan to make sure that consumers are only charged for third-party charges that they authorized.