(CN) - T-Mobile will pay at least $90 million to settle claims it allowed third-parties to charges its customers for unwanted services without their consent, the Federal Trade Commission announced.
The agency sued T-Mobile in July, accusing it of allowing others to "cram" consumers for services ranging from daily horoscopes to text messages offering celebrity gossip or flirting tips.
To further the practice, the complaint said, T-Mobile's phone bills made it nearly impossible for consumers to find and understand third-party subscription charges, burying the deep within bills that can reach 50 pages in length.
"Mobile cramming is an issue that has affected millions of American consumers," said FTC Chairwoman Edith Ramirez in a written statement. "Consumers should be able to trust that their mobile phone bills reflect the charges they authorized and nothing more."
Under the terms of the settlement, most of the $90 million will be returned to the wireless company's customers who can show they paid unauthorized charges. Also coming out of that fund is about $18 million in fines and penalties that will be paid to the attorneys general of all 50 states and the District of Columbia, and $4.5 million that will be paid to the FTC.
In addition to requiring T-Mobile to provide consumers with refunds, the settlement requires the company to get consumers' express informed consent before placing third-party charges on their bills. The company also must ensure that consumers are notified of any third-party charges on their bills and provide them with information about the option to block third-party charges.
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