The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has been one of the most important government organizations to come from Congress and the Obama Administration. They have been successful in helping consumers deal with disputes with credit card companies, banks, consumer reporting agencies, debt collectors, mortgage lenders and much more.
But here is why I like the CFPB the most: They put MONEY back in consumers’ pockets.
It was announced on May 12, that Sprint and Verizon will return $120 million directly to consumers for illegally billed unauthorized third-party charges.
What Verizon and Sprint did to customers
Verizon and Sprint served ads to customers for “free” digital content such as ring tones or daily horoscopes. Customers became victims by clicking on ads not knowing they were going to be charged on their wireless bills. Many customers did not know that third parties could add charges to their wireless bills. Often times the illegal billing went undetected for months.
Verizon and Sprint got a cut of the profit
Because Verizon and Sprint received a 30-40 percent cut of every third-party charge, they had little to no incentive to respond to customer complaints about the illegal charges. Sprint’s and Verizon’s billing systems invited illegal third-party charges and the companies did little or nothing to root them out. Hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue was collected by Verizon and Sprint by serving as payment processors for these third-party companies.
Here is what to do if you were impacted
Claims can be made by customers who think they may have been illegally charged.
- Verizon customers can submit claims for refunds at:
www.CFPBSettlementVerizon.com and learn more about the settlement by calling (888) 726-7063.
- Sprint customers can submit claims for refunds at:
www.SprintRefundPSMS.com or learn more about the settlement by calling (877) 389-8787.
In October 2014 AT&T agreed to a similar settlement for charging its mobile customers without their permission for third-party services like ringtones, wallpapers, and text message subscriptions for horoscopes, flirting tips, and celebrity gossip. May 1, 2015 was the deadline for customers to file a claim. Questions about the AT&T settlement refund process can be asked by calling (877) 819-9692.