CFPB Lawsuit: Sprint Made Millions Off Consumers Acting As A “Breeding Ground” For Bill-Cramming

by Ashlee Kieler, Consumerist

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Mike Mozart/Flickr

Just a day after rumors surfaced that Sprint could be facing a $105 million from the Federal Communications Commission for allegedly overcharging customers using a practice known as “bill-cramming,” the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has filed a lawsuit against the carrier for the bogus charges placed on customer’s phone bills.

The CFPB announced today that it has filed a lawsuit against Sprint Corporation for illegally billing wireless consumers tens of millions of dollars in unauthorized third-party charges.

According to the Bureau’s complaint [PDF], which seeks refunds for affected consumers, Sprint operated a billing system that allowed third-party servicers to “cram” unauthorized charges on customers’ mobile-phone accounts and subsequently ignored consumers’ complaints about the charges.

Like previous cramming allegations against T-Mobile and AT&T, Sprint allegedly tacked unasked-for and unauthorized subscriptions for things like ringtones and text messages containing love tips, horoscopes, and “fun facts” onto bills.

From about 2004 through 2013, regulators say nearly all wireless carriers’ third-party billing involved products called “premium text messages” or “premium short messaging services” (PSMS) because they were frequently delivered by text messages.

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