Last October, AT&T was slapped with $105 million in fines and fees by the Federal Trade Commission for hitting its subscribers with bogus “cramming” charges. For those who don’t recall, cramming is the practice of billing customers for things like ringtone subscription services when customers never registered for the services to begin with.
The bulk of the $105 million AT&T was forced to pay out will go toward refunding its customers for those bogus charges, and you only have two more days to claim your piece of the pie. But how do you know if you were slapped with cramming charges? And how do you get your refund?
Here’s everything you need to know:
First things first… before you throw a fit and spiral out of control with rage, AT&T claims that it had no knowledge that customers were being billed without their consent. Here’s AT&T’s statement on the matter from back in October:
In the past, our wireless customers could purchase services like ringtones from other companies using Premium Short Messaging Services (PSMS) and we would put those charges on their bills. Other wireless carriers did the same.
While we had rigorous protections in place to guard consumers against unauthorized billing from these companies, last year we discontinued third-party billing for PSMS services.
Today, we reached a broad settlement to resolve claims that some of our wireless customers were billed for charges from third-parties that the customers did not authorize. This settlement gives our customers who believe they were wrongfully billed for PSMS services the ability to get a refund.
With that out of the way, it’s important to understand that this settlement doesn’t impact all AT&T subscribers. Only those who are confirmed to have been hit with bogus charges can obtain a refund.
But how do you know if you were crammed?
No, you don’t have to dig through dozens of old invoices in order to determine if you paid for services you never signed up for. Simply call the toll-free hotline at (877) 819-9692 and a representative can look up your account to see if you were affected. Then, if you do qualify for a refund, your application can be processed right over the phone.
Now, here’s the most important part: You only have two more days to apply for a refund.
If you’re an AT&T subscriber, call that number before the end of the day on Friday to ensure you’re made whole if you were in fact hit with cramming charges. There’s a chance that the deadline will be pushed back by the FTC, but that’s only if a huge portion of subscribers who are eligible don’t file by the end of the day tomorrow.