AT&T agrees to $80 million settlement for mobile phone 'cramming'

By Ashley Perry | Oct 9, 2014

Arkansas Attorney General Dustin McDaniel's swearing in ceremony   The State of Arkansas

Approximately 200,000 Arkansas consumers who were subject to 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 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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