Hurry Up! Verizon and Sprint customers have week’s time to claim ‘cramming’ refunds
Just a week is left for Verizon and Sprint customers to claim a refund for unauthorized charges in their mobile bills. In May, both the companies have entered into ‘cramming’ settlement with the Federal Communication Commission (FCC) worth $158 million.
Current and former subscribers who had for paid unauthorized texts since July 1, 2010, can file for claim but no later than December 31. Verizon and Sprint both have online claim forms. The wireless companies have allowed third-party companies to charge customers to ‘premium’ text messages without their prior approval and club it in the bills, an activity known as ‘cramming’.
The FCC, Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and state attorneys general have taken part in the investigations. Not only Verizon and Sprint had to face the investigations, there are other companies as well, including AT&T and T-Mobile USA, which have paid $105 million and $90 million respectively to settle similar investigations in 2014.
Though Verizon and Sprint has done the settlement, they have earlier said that the companies have stopped cramming practice long before the government investigation started. Verizon has included charges for third-party PSMS on its customer’s bills at least till January 2014. The charges include horoscopes, flirting tips, celebrity gossip and other information.
Sprint was sued for billing its customers for unauthorized third-party charges between 2004 and December 2013. As per the complaint, “Sprint charged its customers by creating a billing and payment-processing system that gave third parties virtually unfettered access to its customers’ accounts” and also “Sprint automatically enrolled its customers in its third-party billing system without their knowledge”.
As per the FCC, Verizon used to receive 30% or more for each PSMS charge that it billed and Sprint retained 40% of the gross revenue that it collected from third-party charges. FCC has warned people to carefully go through mobile bills and take action if they notice any unknown or suspicious charge included.
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