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Sprint faces $105 million FCC fine for phone bill ‘cramming’
Sprint could be the next US carrier hit with a $105 million FCC fine over phone bill ‘cramming’, according to anonymous FCC officials, as the regulator attempts to clamp down on unwarranted charges applied to consumers.
By bill ‘cramming’ the FCC refers to the practice of applying unauthorized charges to a customer’s phone bill, which is estimated to affect around 20 million customers each year. Carriers have been accused of using evasive tactics to prevent customers from understanding and removing said charges. In Sprint’s case, the FCC is investigating charges for additional services that customers never requested.
FCC commissioners are currently reviewing the case and will soon vote on the proposed fine. If Sprint is found to be in the wrong, the company faces costs of $105 million. This would match the penalty slammed on AT&T in October over similar cramming allegations.
This issue seems rather widespread in the US, as the FCC has also been investigating similar claims against T-Mobile and the FTC filed a complaint against the carrier in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington back in July. Following some gentle nudging by the state attorneys general, AT&T, T-Mobile, Sprint and Verizon agreed to stop charging customers for extra third-party services back in November.
FCC spokespersons have declined to comment on the matter.