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Sprint and Verizon Fined Total of $158M to Settle Cramming Charges

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May 12, 2015, 11:16 AM   by Eric M. Zeman   @phonescooper

The FCC today said Sprint and Verizon Wireless have agreed to pay $158 million to settle charges that they fraudulently charged customers for third-party services — a tactic referred to as cramming. Specifically, Sprint will pay a total of $68 million, $50 million of which will go back to customers, $14 million of which will go to state governments, and $2 million of which will go to the federal government. Verizon will pay $90 million, with $70 million to go to consumers, $16 million to states, and $4 million to the fed. In addition to the fines, Sprint and Verizon agreed to a slew of other enforcement actions. They will no longer be allowed to offer premium SMS services. For all other services, they must: obtain clear consent before initiating charged, clearly mark charges on bills, and make it easy for customers to block such third-party services. The FCC has been on a tear this year, coming down hard on companies that take advantage of consumers.

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