Attention Sprint, Verizon customers: You may be eligible for a refund

Verizon and Sprint customers could be getting some money back from a $158 million settlement over cell phone cramming.

Sprint has agreed to pay $68 million and Verizon has agreed to pay $90 million for “cramming” unauthorized charges on bills of its customers, according to a settlement announced on Tuesday.

“The lack of oversight by Sprint and Verizon allowed the vendors to have nearly unfettered access to consumers’ wireless accounts. 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. The charges ranged from one-time fees of about $0.99 – $4.99 to monthly subscriptions that cost $9.99 a month. The companies received a 30-40 percent cut of the gross revenue from these charges,” the consumer Financial Protection Bureau said in a statement released Tuesday.

Verizon is accused of keeping at least 30% of the fees, and Sprint is accused of keeping approximately 35%, according to the FCC.

Typically, cell phone cramming requires a monthly fee of $9.99 from a third-party service for things such as trivia, horoscopes and sports scores.

Majority of the time, customers are unaware that they are paying for these third-party services.

“The companies’ billing systems made it easy for third-party scammers to attach charges to consumers’ bills. The companies profited from theses illegitimate charges which victimized millions of consumers,” according to the CFPB’s statement.

Consumers have the option of submitting a claim under the Sprint and Verizon cramming refund program by visiting SprintRefundPSMS.com or CFPBSettlementVerizon.com.

Once your claim has been filed, your carrier will notify you and let you know if you’re eligible for a refund.

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