WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Sprint and Verizon Wireless will pay customers who were “crammed” on their cell phone bills, according to a settlement announced on Tuesday.
Sprint has agreed to a $68 million settlement and Verizon has agreed to a $90 million settlement.
"The lack of oversight by Sprint and Verizon allowed the vendors to have nearly unfettered access to consumers’ wireless accounts," the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau said in a statement issued on Tuesday. "The billing systems for premium messages attracted and enabled unscrupulous merchants who, in some cases, only needed consumers’ phone numbers to cram illegitimate charges onto wireless bills."
Cell phone cramming usually involves a monthly fee of $9.99 for premium text message subscription services like horoscopes trivia and sports scores.
In many cases, people don’t know they’re signing up for these services.
“Sprint and Verizon had flawed billing systems that allowed merchants to add unauthorized charges to wireless customer bills,” said CFPB Director Richard Cordray. “Consumers bore the brunt of those charges and ended up paying millions of dollars while the companies reaped profits."
Consumers can submit claims under the Sprint and Verizon cramming refund program by visiting SprintRefundPSMS.com or CFPBSettlementVerizon.com. Once you file a claim, your cell phone company will let you know if you’re eligible for a refund.
You can also reach the Verizon settlement administrator at 888-726-7063 and the Sprint settlement administrator at 877-389-8787.