$158 Million Settlement between Sprint and Verizon Offering Customers to Seek Refund by December 31st
Both Sprint and Verizon agreed to pay $158 million to the customers as a part of the federal settlement between the two companies. All those customers, who have been charged illegally over wireless phone bills have been requested to get their claims refunded by December 31st either through online or mailed. Customers have been charged for unauthorized third-party services on their bills by companies offering services like ringtones, horoscopes and celebrity gossip. The U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., a member of the Senate Commerce Committee, said the practice is called ‘cramming’. The Senator added that the practice has become widespread and caused financial harm to subscribers. But, now customers who seek they have been charged improperly for their services can seek refund.
Many customers were targeted in the act of ‘cramming’ through ads that once clicked on take away the customer to the websites asking for their cell phone numbers. Some merchants tricked consumers into providing their numbers to get ‘free’ digital content only to be charged for it. In some of the cases, merchants fabricated charges without delivering any goods or communication with consumers. According to the CFPB, the companies received as much as 40% cut of the gross revenue from these charges, which were incurred from about 2004 to 2013. Debra Lewis, spokeswoman, said “Well before any government action, Verizon Wireless stopped allowing companies to place charges for premium text message services on customers' bills”. Long before, Sprint returned tens of millions of dollars which the government initiated its investigation of our industry. In October 2014, New York Attorney General Schneiderman announced similar settlements with AT&T (T) allowing the company to pay $105 million. Similarly in December 2014, the settlement with T-Mobile resulted in out $90 million to the company.
Under the refund program to be overseen by the CFPB, Verizon customers can submit claims for refunds at www.CFPBSettlementVerizon.com or ask questions by calling 888-726-7063. Sprint customers can submit claims atwww.SprintRefundPSMS.com or call 877-389-8787.
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