AT&T forced to pay record US$105m for charged spam texts

9 Oct 2014

AT&T now know what it’s like to be hit with a hefty bill after the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) issued the telecoms company with a record US$105m for overcharging customers.

The charges specifically related to its mobile service where customers, in many cases unknowingly, were being charged as much as US$9.99 a month for services and spam text messages that they had never signed up for.

These included text messages about horoscopes, celebrity gossip and weather reports, but in what looks like good news for these affected customers, there is a significant chance they will get their money back.

According to documents containing bills that had been sent to a typical customer, AT&T had made sure not to make the charges visible, even to the most eagle-eyed consumer, by lumping all charges in as one.

Even more confusing for those viewing the bill would be that nowhere does it list the services that customers had been automatically signed up for which, unsurprisingly, under law is considered illegal.

The FTC, who are responsible for consumer rights in the US, is now calling on customers of AT&T to ring the company to confirm that they are not being charged unnecessarily, but more importantly, they can now look at seeking a refund for their previous charges.

AT&T image via Shutterstock

Colm Gorey was a senior journalist with Silicon Republic