Earlier this year, the United States Federal Trade Commission filed a complaint against T-Mobile, accusing the carrier of "cramming" or charging customers for unauthorized SMS subscriptions that delivered information like horoscopes for prices up to $9.99 per month.

Though T-Mobile initially called the FTC's complaint "unfounded and without merit," it today reached a settlement [PDF] that will see it paying out more than $90 million to consumers that were affected by its practices. The carrier will also be required to inform all current and former customers who paid the illicit charges about the refund program.

t-mobile_usa_logo
In a statement, FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler praised the settlement as a win for consumers and pledged to continue to fight "unjust and unreasonable business practices committed by the nation's carriers."

"Cramming is a significant problem. For too long, millions of consumers have been scammed billed for bogus charges on their phone bills for services they didn't request. This is unacceptable. Today's settlement is a win for consumers who have been victimized by cramming. It means compensation for T-Mobile customers who were fraudulently billed for third-party services that they did not want or authorize. And it goes one step further. Today's action will also help protect all of T-Mobile's customers from bogus third-party charges in the future."

Along with T-Mobile, several other carriers have been targeted by the FTC for the same unsavory practices. AT&T paid out $105 million in penalties in October, and Sprint is facing a similar fine. In a statement released earlier this year, T-Mobile said that it stopped billing for Premium SMS services in 2013 and had already put a "proactive program" in place to provide full refunds for customers, but the government found that many customers went uncompensated.

Along with providing refunds for customers, T-Mobile's $90 million fine will also include $18 million in fines to attorneys in all 50 states plus the District of Columbia and a $4.5 million fine to be paid to the Federal Communication Commission.

News of T-Mobile's settlement comes just days after the company announced an eighth Un-carrier initiative, which will allow customers to roll over monthly unused data, storing it for up to 12 months.

Top Rated Comments

ArtOfWarfare Avatar
106 months ago
"Normal" people would go to jail for this, it's theft!

Eh. I'm not a big fan of sending people to jail. If all that they did was steal small amounts of money from large amounts of people, I'm content with them simply paying all those people back, plus interest.
Score: 7 Votes (Like | Disagree)
soheilk Avatar
106 months ago
In this case, yes, because the question would be who would get sent to jail over this? The CEO? The accountant that allowed this? The list goes on and one and then becomes which one?

So, yes, it is a lot simpler to require them to pay restitution than to sort these things out.

So, next time I'm doing something illegal I just have to make sure I have a big corporation supporting me?:D I never learned how corporations work in this country...
Score: 2 Votes (Like | Disagree)
cmwade77 Avatar
106 months ago
So they can pay their way out of illegal activity ?
In this case, yes, because the question would be who would get sent to jail over this? The CEO? The accountant that allowed this? The list goes on and one and then becomes which one?

So, yes, it is a lot simpler to require them to pay restitution than to sort these things out.
Score: 2 Votes (Like | Disagree)
justperry Avatar
106 months ago
"Normal" people would go to jail for this, it's theft!
Score: 2 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Solomani Avatar
106 months ago
Awesome! I await my $26 check in the mail, thank you class action suit lawyers. Hopefully the check will arrive in the next 12 months.
Score: 1 Votes (Like | Disagree)
paulbennett95 Avatar
106 months ago
So, next time I'm doing something illegal I just have to make sure I have a big corporation supporting me?:D I never learned how corporations work in this country...
You can't and shouldn't arrest anyone for this, that's the point of a corporation, the corporation acts on behalf of all the share holders so any individual risk is mitigated.

They took the best course of action by making the corporation (and all the share holders) pay back any monetary damages. Unless the CEO made a decree that scamming customers is their priority, he can't and shouldn't be arrested.
Score: 1 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Popular Stories

dewey airtag

Report Highlights Danger of Using AirTags for Tracking Dogs

Monday January 30, 2023 1:45 pm PST by
AirTags may be a convenient way for tracking dogs that might get off leash or otherwise lost, but there are dangers associated with the practice, as outlined by a report from The Wall Street Journal. At 1.26 inches in diameter, AirTags are able to fit easily on a dog's collar, but that size also makes the tracking devices small enough to swallow, at least for a medium to large-sized dog, and ...
General iOS 16 Feature Yellow

Five New iOS Features Coming to Your iPhone Later This Year

Tuesday January 31, 2023 11:58 am PST by
Apple has previously announced several upcoming iOS features that are expected to be added to the iPhone this year. Some of the features could be introduced with iOS 16.4, which should enter beta testing soon, while others will arrive later in the year. Below, we have recapped five new iOS features that are expected to launch in 2023, such as an Apple Pay Later financing option for purchases ...
Apple Silicon Teal Feature

The Next Big Apple Silicon Device May Not Be a Mac or iPad

Wednesday February 1, 2023 3:57 am PST by
Apple's next device with an Apple silicon chip may not be a Mac or an iPad, but rather an advanced external display, according to recent reports. The display, which is rumored to arrive this year, is expected to sit somewhere between the $1,599 Studio Display and the $4,999 Pro Display XDR – but more exact information about the device's positioning and price point is as yet unknown. While ...
Multi Display CarPlay 1

Apple Launching All-New CarPlay Experience Later This Year With These 5 Features

Sunday January 29, 2023 10:15 am PST by
In June 2022, Apple previewed the next generation of CarPlay, promising deeper integration with vehicle functions like A/C and FM radio, support for multiple displays across the dashboard, personalization options, and more. Apple says the first vehicles with support for the next-generation CarPlay experience will be announced in late 2023, with committed automakers including Acura, Audi,...
MKBHD HomePod 2 White Ring Stain

New HomePod Can Still Stain Some Wooden Surfaces

Tuesday January 31, 2023 8:29 am PST by
When the original HomePod launched in 2018, it was discovered that the speaker can leave white rings on some wooden surfaces. Now, well-known YouTuber Marques Brownlee has confirmed that the issue persists to a lesser extent with the new HomePod. In a side-by-side test, he showed that the white second-generation HomePod left a white ring on the wooden surface that he placed the speaker on,...
HomePod 2 White and Midnight Feature Purple Blue

Apple Explains Why HomePod Was Released Again, Wi-Fi 4 Limitation, and More

Thursday February 2, 2023 7:57 am PST by
Apple's VP of hardware engineering Matthew Costello and product marketing employee Alice Chan recently spoke with Men's Journal and TechCrunch about the new second-generation HomePod in wide-ranging interviews about the smart speaker. Apple discontinued the original full-size HomePod in March 2021 after multiple reports indicated that sales of the speaker were lackluster, but Chan told Men's ...