FTC orders AT&T to pay out $88 million to customers

The Federal Trade Commission announced Thursday that 2.7 million AT&T customers will share $88 million in compensation for unauthorized third-party charges added to their bills.

“Through the FTC’s refund program, nearly 2.5 million current AT&T customers will receive a credit on their bill within the next 75 days, and more than 300,000 former customers will receive a check. The average refund amount is $31,” the FTC press release said.

AT&T placed unauthorized third-party charges on its customers’ phone bills, usually in amounts of $9.99 per month, for ringtones and text message subscriptions containing love tips, horoscopes and “fun facts,” according the FTC complaint. They alleged that AT&T kept at least 35 percent of the charges it imposed on its customers, reported Fortune.

The FTC also warned consumers who may be expecting refunds to be alert for scams trying to take advantage of the situation, noting that the FTC never requires payment or account information to get a refund check.

Current AT&T customers affected by the “cramming charges” will get a credit on their bill within the next 75 days. Former customers affected will receive a check. The first round of checks was mailed Thursday.

Customers can reach the refund administrator at 1-877-819-9692 for any questions.