The Federal Trade Commission is providing $88 million in refunds to 2.7 million AT&T customers who had third-party charges added to their mobile bills without their consent.
The tactic, known as “mobile cramming,” involved Tattoo and Acquinity tacking on additional charges to AT&T customers’ bills.
“AT&T received a high volume of complaints related to mobile cramming prior to the FTC and other federal and state agencies stepping in on consumers’ behalf,” said FTC Chairwoman Edith Ramirez. “I am pleased that consumers are now being refunded their money and that AT&T has changed its mobile billing practices.”
The refunds represent the most money ever returned to consumers in a mobile cramming case. Current customers will receive a credit on their bill and former customers will receive a check. The average refund amount is $31, according to the FTC.
AT&T placed unauthorized third-party charges on its customers’ phone bills, usually in amounts of $9.99 per month, for ringtones and text message subscriptions containing love tips, horoscopes, and “fun facts.”