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T-Mobile customers to get refund checks over unwanted charges

Attention wronged T-Mobile customers, a check could be on its way to you.

The mobile carrier has been ordered by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to reimburse customers nearly $20 million after third-party charges for unwanted services were added to people’s mobile bills.

It affects more than 617,000 customers who were overcharged by the company, with the FTC sending out refund checks averaging around $32, the commission announced on Thursday.

It will give money back those who were wronged but didn’t take part in T-Mobile’s refund program, which has so far returned more than $70 million to customers.

The FTC said T-Mobile was engaged in “mobile cramming,” where consumers’ phone bills are used as a vehicle for unauthorized charges placed by third parties.

In T-Mobile’s case, customers were typically billed $9.99 a month for a series of unwanted third-party services, including horoscopes, love tips and celebrity gossip, with the FTC saying these appeared on the front of customer bills as “usage charges.”

More information was provided about these third-party charges, but the commission said that these were “buried deep in phone bills that totaled more than 50 pages in length.”

The mobile carrier would receive a 35 to 40 percent cut of every charge they placed, the FTC said.

In the future, T-Mobile has to take efforts to ensure they get customers’ express, informed consent before they can start charging for third-party services.

To learn more about the FTC’s refund program, visit www.ftc.gov/refunds.

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