AT&T will finally refund $88 million in unauthorized charges

Over 2.7 million mobile customers were hit with $9.99 subscriptions they didn't ask for.

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David Paul Morris/Bloomberg via Getty Images
David Paul Morris/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Thanks to some shady business dealings between AT&T and a pair of companies known for bloating customers' cell phone bills, roughly 2.7 million current and former AT&T mobile subscribers are getting more than $88 million dollars in refunds from the Federal Trade Commission. The refunds are part of a 2014 settlement in which AT&T was accused of "mobile cramming" -- the practice of tacking unnecessary third-party fees onto your bill without consent -- along with two known cramming companies Tatto and Acquinity.

According to the FTC's statement, AT&T was tacking on unauthorized $9.99 monthly charges for things like horoscopes, ringtones, "love tips," and other "fun facts" from third-party companies and then keeping 35 percent of the charges. After the FTC crackdown, AT&T changed its billing practices and had to pay into the FTC fund that is now issuing refunds amounting to, "the most money ever returned to consumers in a mobile cramming case."

As the FTC's new consumer blog notes, customers should be getting back about $31 each on average. Around 2.5 million customers will see their refunds show up on their AT&T mobile bill in the next 75 days and another 300,000 former customers will get their refund via a check in the mail.

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