ATT, T-Mobile, and Sprint Unauthorized Charges on Cell Phone Bills

In what is a major breakthrough in the fight against mobile cramming, Attorney General Pam Bondi announced November 21, 2013 that three of the nation’s largest mobile phone carriers— AT&T Mobility, Inc., Sprint Spectrum, LP and T-Mobile USA, Inc. will no longer charge their customers for commercial Premium Short Messaging Services, also known as “PSMS,” or “premium text messages.”

PSMS accounts for the majority of third-party charges on cell phones and for the overwhelming majority of cramming complaints. For the three companies’ customers, this means an end to the most common way unauthorized charges by third parties appear on cell phone bills, a practice known as cramming.

” AT&T Mobility, Inc., T-Mobile USA, Inc. and Sprint Spectrum, LP have taken a significant step in decreasing their customers’ risk of unauthorized cell phone charges. Terminating Premium SMS billing, which has consistently resulted in abuses by third parties, will go a long way in curbing the cramming problem for the benefit of all cell phone customers,” stated Attorney General Pam Bondi. “We have been a member of a seven-state executive committee leading a nationwide, forty-five state effort to protect cell phone customers and will continue in this role to ensure Florida consumers are protected from cramming.”

AT&T Mobility, Inc., Sprint Spectrum, LP, and T-Mobile USA, Inc. are the second, third and fourth largest providers of mobile telephone services nationwide. AT&T Mobility, Inc. and T-Mobile USA, Inc. have confirmed they will continue to allow charitable donations to be billed via PSMS.

The Attorney General’s Office is a member of a seven-state executive committee that has been in discussions with the major carriers for several months regarding the issue of “cramming.” The other states on the executive committee include: Delaware, Maryland, Oregon, Texas, Washington, and Vermont.

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