Ashley Perry Oct. 9, 2014, 2:08pm

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (Legal Newsline) - Approximately 200,000 Arkansas consumers who were subject to allegedly unauthorized text messaging charges are eligible for restitution as part of an $80 million nationwide settlement with AT&T Mobility LLC, Attorney General Dustin McDaniel announced on Wednesday.

Several states and federal regulators entered into an agreement with AT&T to resolve allegations that the mobile telephone provider placed unauthorized charges on consumers' bills, a practice known as "mobile cramming."

Consumers allegedly victimized by this practice say that, despite having never requested premium text messaging services, they were typically charged $9.99 per month for sports scores, trivia or horoscopes.

The settlement prevents AT&T from participating in premium text messaging. AT&T must also take steps to ensure that it only bills consumers for authorized third-party charges.

“This settlement is a victory for the Arkansas consumers who have unwittingly paid higher cell-phone bills due to this practice,” McDaniel said. “We have worked with phone companies for many months in an effort to stop ‘cramming’ and protect consumers, and this is a good first step in making sure mobile carriers put a stop to these unauthorized charges.”

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