T-Mobile US has given up its fight against a lawsuit filed by the US government, agreeing today to refund $90 million or more to customers who were charged premium text message fees without their consent.
The Federal Trade Commission alleged that T-Mobile made hundreds of millions of dollars off the practice of passing along third-party charges to customers without their authorization and taking a commission on each charge. T-Mobile could end up paying much more than $90 million. “The settlement requires that they provide full refunds to consumers, with a total of ‘at least’ $90 million,” an FTC spokesperson explained. “The $90 million is a floor. If they receive refund requests of more than that, they have to provide them.”
In addition to everything it pays back customers, T-Mobile will pay $18 million in fines and penalties to state attorneys general and $4.5 million to the Federal Communications Commission. If T-Mobile receives less than $90 million worth of refund requests, the extra fines can be counted toward the minimum payment of $90 million. If the payment is still under $90 million, “the balance must be remitted to the FTC for additional consumer redress, consumer education, or other uses,” the FTC said.
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