Sprint, Verizon to reimburse customers

Published 7:00 am Saturday, May 16, 2015

Wednesday, Mississippi Attorney General Jim Hood announced that his Consumer Protection Division, along with those of the other 49 states and District of Columbia, reached settlements with Sprint Corporation and Cellco Partnership also known as Verizon Wireless that includes $158 million in payments.
According to an AG release, these settlements resolve allegations that Sprint and Verizon placed charges for third-party services on consumers’ mobile telephone bills that were not authorized by consumers, which is known as mobile cramming.
Mississippi received $358,269 from the Sprint and Verizon settlements, the release states.
“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,” Hood said in the release.
According to the release, Sprint and Verizon are the third and fourth mobile providers to resolve allegations regarding cramming. In 2014 Hood announced a $105 million settlement with AT&T and a $90 million settlement with T-Mobile.
The release states that all four mobile carriers stopped billing customers for commercial PSMS in the fall of 2013.
Sprint will pay $68 million and Verizon will pay $90 million, the release states. Of those settlements, $50 million of Sprint’s amount and $70 million of Verizon’s amount is required to be provided to customers who were victims of cramming.
The funds will be distributed through redress programs, which will be under the supervision of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, the release states.
According to the release, Sprint will also pay $12 million to the Attorneys General and $6 million to the Federal Communications Commission, while Verizon will pay $16 million and $4 million.
Customers who feel they are eligible for repayment can visit www.sprintrefundpsms.com or www.cfpbsettlementverizon.com, where they can submit claims, find information about refund eligibility, how to obtain a refund and request a complimentary account summary detailing PSMS purchases on their accounts, the release states.
Consumers who have questions can also call settlement administrators at 877-389-8787 for Sprint customers and 888-726-7063 for Verizon customers.
According to the release, the settlements require the mobile carriers to stay out of the commercial PSMS business and must take steps to ensure they only bill consumers for third-party charges that have been authorized.

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