Verizon, Sprint to Give $120M Back to ‘Crammed’ Consumers

May 13th, 2015

Congrats on your $4.4 billion merger with AOL, Verizon. Now pay $70 million to the millions of customers whose mobile-phone accounts you allegedly allowed third parties to bill without their permission.

On the same day Verizon announced its massive merger with AOL, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) on Tuesday filed a proposed consent order against the wireless carrier to settle allegations that it charged customers hundreds of millions of dollars for services they never requested in a practice called cramming.

The CFPB took similar action against Sprint, which is expected to refund its wireless customers $50 million. The two companies will also pony up $38 million in federal and state fines under the proposals.

RELATED: Oh, Verizon

If the proposed consent orders are approved by the court, it would mean that all four major mobile carriers are on the hook to refund consumers following cramming charges. T-Mobile and AT&T have already had to answer to unauthorized billing allegations from the FTC, with T-Mobile agreeing to pay out $90 million in refunds and AT&T $80 million.

All told, that’s $290 million going back to wireless consumers for hidden charges regulators said the carriers placed on their accounts. Verizon customers can submit claims for a refund here and Sprint customers here.

Find more of our coverage on cramming here.

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The practice of charging customers for cell phone services that they did not request or approve.

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