T-Mobile paying at least $90M for unwanted services


WASHINGTON (AP) — T-Mobile US will pay at least $90 million, mostly in refunds, for billing customers for cellphone text services they didn't order, under a settlement with federal regulators.

The Federal Trade Commission announced the agreement today with T-Mobile over billing for unauthorized charges, a practice known as "cramming." T-Mobile, the fourth-largest U.S. cellphone company, is paying at least $67.5 million in refunds to affected customers plus $18 million in fines to the 50 states and the District of Columbia, and $4.5 million in fines to the Federal Communications Commission.

The FTC sued T-Mobile in July, accusing it of billing customers for subscriptions to text services like $9.99-per-month horoscopes or celebrity gossip updates that they didn't want or authorize.

T-Mobile collected 35 percent to 40 percent of the charges, even after being alerted by customers that they were bogus, the FTC alleges.

Officials told reporters on a conference call that the $90 million was a floor, not a maximum, for the amount that T-Mobile could end up paying. "It could be well north of $100 million," said Bill Sorrell, the attorney general of Vermont.

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