TN attorney general announces $90M T-Mobile settlement - | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

TN attorney general announces $90M T-Mobile settlement

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On Friday, the Tennessee Attorney General Herbert Slatery announced a settlement with T-Mobile that included at least $90 million in payments and “mobile cramming". 

The Attorneys General and federal regulators allege that T-Mobile placed charges for third-party services on consumers' mobile telephone bills that were not authorized by the consumer. 

Consumers who have been “crammed” often incurred charges, typically $9.99 per month, for “premium” text message subscription services (PSMS) such as horoscopes, trivia, and sports scores that the consumers have never heard of or requested.  

“It is frustrating when you realize you have been charged for something and you do not know what the charge is for.  We are pleased that T-Mobile worked with us in an attempt to stop the practice,” said Attorney General Slatery.

Consumers can visit T-Mobile Refund to submit a claim, find information about refund eligibility and request a free account summary that details PSMS purchases on their accounts.   

Consumers may also call the Refund Administrator at (855) 382-6403.   

“This is a fair settlement and sends a clear message that Tennessee takes “cramming” seriously and will remain vigilant in our efforts to rid it from our marketplace,” said, Bill Giannini, Department of Commerce and Insurance Deputy Commissioner/Acting Director of Consumer Affairs.

The settlement requires T-Mobile to stay out of the commercial PSMS business—the platform to which law enforcement agencies attribute the lion's share of the mobile cramming problem. 

Finally, under the terms of the settlement, T-Mobile must pay at least $67.5 million to consumers (a portion of which may be paid by debt forgiveness) and, $18 million to the Attorneys General and $4.5 million to the Federal Communications Commission.

 In addition, T-Mobile must take a number of steps designed to ensure it only bills consumers for authorized third-party charges, including the following:

  • Obtaining consumers' express consent and ensuring consumers are only charged if they have been informed of all material terms and conditions of their payment; 
  • Giving consumers an opportunity to obtain a full refund or credit when they are billed for unauthorized third-party charges;
  • Informing customers when they sign up for services their mobile phone can be used to pay for third-party charges, and how those third-party charges can be blocked if the consumer doesn't want to use their phone as a payment method for third-party products; and,
  •  Presenting third-party charges in a dedicated section of consumers' mobile phone bills, and clearly distinguishing them from T-Mobile charges.
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