AT&T has settled a group of class action suits filed against it by customers claiming they were inappropriately charged for downloaded content. According to the lawyers, AT&T customers will be able to claim refunds for the content charges on up to three of their monthly bills between Jan. 1, 2004, and May 30, 2008.
The firm representing the suits’ filers said this is the first nationwide settlement over charges related to third-party content. Other carriers face similar suits.
The suit was over charges related to downloadable content provided by third parties. Customers frequently receive offers for ringtones or text messaging services, but the charges for such services can be hidden or poorly explained. Customers then complained when the unexplained charges began showing up on their bills.
The settlement involved 16 class-action suits, which claimed that AT&T should have made it clear the costs of such services. AT&T did not admit wrongdoing, but will now require customers signing up for third-party services with recurring fees to confirm by replying to a text message. The terms also require content providers to send monthly reminders to customers about how to unsubscribe from their services.
AT&T said it isn’t possible to estimate how much customers will be refunded in the settlement, but the company will pay the plaintiffs’ lawyers’ fees of $4.3 million.