ANCHORAGE, Alaska (Legal Newsline) - Alaska Attorney General Michael Geraghty announced an agreement Thursday with three of the nation's largest mobile phone carriers to no longer bill customers for problematic third-party charges.
Alaska joined 44 other states in discussions with T-Mobile, Sprint and AT&T Mobility over the issue of commercial premium short messaging services, which account for the majority of third-party charges on cell phone bills. PSMS represent most mobile cramming complaints.
"This is a significant step for cell phone users in Alaska and across the nation," Geraghty said. "Although PSMS has some benefits, especially in charitable giving, it is also a major component of the current mobile cramming issue."
Cramming on landlines and cell phone is estimated to cost Americans $2 billion annually. Geraghty praised the mobile phone carriers for protecting consumers from those costs going forward.
"We are pleased that AT&T, Sprint and T-Mobile have taken this step to protect consumers from having their hard-earned money diverted toward unnoticed and frequently unauthorized billing items put there by third parties, which often turn out to be scam artists," Geraghty said. "We hope other carriers will do the same. My office will continue to work with other states for industry reforms and to continue looking into any consumer complaints on behalf of Alaskans who may be victimized by cramming."
AT&T, Sprint and T-Mobile are the second, third and fourth largest mobile telephone service providers in the U.S. Two of the carriers said they would continue to allow charitable donations to be billed via PSMS.