(CN) - As part of a $105 million "mobile cramming" settlement with the Federal Trade Commission on Wednesday, AT&T Mobility will pay $80 million in consumer refunds.
The settlement, filed simultaneously with a complaint in Atlanta, Ga., in involves all 50 states and the District of Columbia. In addition to the refunds, AT&T will pay $20 million in penalties to the states and D.C., plus a $5 million for the Federal Communications Commission.
AT&T Mobility's cramming, as alleged in the complaint, involved its practice of charging customers up to an extra $9.99 a month for unauthorized text-message subscription services such as wallpaper, trivia, horoscopes, celebrity gossip and love tips. The settlement is the first on a national scale to address mobile cramming practices.
Third-party billing occurs when a phone company bills for services offered by another company, then skims a percentage of the charge. AT&T allegedly kept 35 percent of what it charged customers for the unordered services.
"AT&T had strong reason to suspect that the charges were unauthorized, yet continued to place these charges on its customers' bills," FTC Chairwoman Edith Ramirez said in a statement.
Indiana Attorney General Gregory Zoeller called the case "a good reminder that people should pay close attention to their bills for any questionable fees or extra charges."
Third-party charges can be hard to identify on consumer bills. AT&T listed these charges as "AT&T Monthly Subscriptions", the FTC said.
The FTC has placed a significant focus on mobile cramming since 2013. T-Mobile US Inc. is still fighting similar charges filed against it in July, and Amazon.com also faces a similar complaint involving its Kindle Fire tablets.
Consumers can get AT&T refund information at www.ftc.gov/att or by calling (877) 819-9692.
Read the Top 8
Sign up for the Top 8, a roundup of the day's top stories delivered directly to your inbox Monday through Friday.