An estimated 50,000 Sprint customers and 125,000 Verizon customers in Idaho may be eligible for refunds from a settlement Idaho Attorney General Lawrence Wasden announced Tuesday.
Idaho joined 49 states, the District of Columbia and two federal agencies in settling allegations that Sprint Corp. and Verizon Wireless imposed unauthorized charges for third-party services on consumers’ monthly mobile telephone bills — otherwise known as “cramming.”
The total settlement nationwide is $158 million. Of that, Sprint will offer $50 million for consumer refunds, and Verizon will offer up to $70 million for consumer refunds.
The companies also agreed to pay Wasden’s office a combined $322,000 to cover attorney fees and investigation costs.
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“There is simply no good reason why Idaho consumers should have to be responsible for mobile phone charges they never wanted or agreed to pay for,” Wasden said. “The settlement is a victory for consumers who are now eligible to receive refunds and for holding Sprint and Verizon accountable for their past actions.”
This is the latest in a series of agreements with telecommunications companies to settle similar allegations. Last year, Idaho joined other states and federal officials in a $105 million settlement with AT&T and a $90 million agreement with T-Mobile.
The cramming cases typically involved charges of $9.99 per month for “premium” text message services the consumer never ordered, such as horoscopes, trivia and sports scores.
Think you’re eligible for a refund? Visit www.SprintRefundPSMS.com and/or www.CFPBSettlementVerizon.com to file a claim. Call (877) 389-8787 for Sprint and/or (888) 726-7063 for Verizon if you have questions.
In addition to the refunds, Sprint and Verizon have agreed to:
• Give consumers the chance to receive a full refund or credit when billed for unauthorized, third-party charges.
• Inform customers — when they sign up for services — that their mobile phone can be used to pay for third-party charges.
• Show third-party charges in a dedicated section of monthly bills, clearly distinguishing them from the cell-phone provider’s own charges and explaining how to block third-party charges.