Attorney General Pam Bondi announced a multimillion-dollar settlement with AT&T Mobility Friday over allegations that the phone company’s “Roadside Assistance” plans were charged to Florida customers’ cell bills without their consent.
More than 600,000 cell phone numbers of Sunshine State customers were charged $2.99 a month for Roadside Assistance during the period that was investigated, mostly in 2004 or later, Bondi’s office said.
A “substantial number of those customers will be eligible for refunds,” her office said.
AT&T Mobility has agreed to refunds for Florida customers; to pay $1.2 million to the attorney general’s office for future enforcement and attorneys’ costs; provide prepaid phone cards worth $550,000 to be donated to U.S. military members; and donate $10,000 to the Florida Law Enforcement Officer of the Year program, Bondi said in her announcement.
According to her office, the settlement is the first case requiring a cell phone company “to use text messages to confirm a service has been added to a customer's cell phone, and provide an easy method for the consumer to cancel the service if it is unwanted.”
“All customers who paid for unwanted services deserve to be made whole, and we have guaranteed that AT&T Mobility will fully refund their money,” Bondi said in a press release.
Customers who were charged for Roadside Assistance between February 2004 and when AT&T Mobility begins its text message disclosures – and who did not consent to or use Roadside Assistance – are eligible for a full refund, and will receive a postcard with information on how to file a claim, Bondi’s office said.
The settlement is a “voluntary agreement” and, it says, should not be construed as an admission of liability or wrongdoing on the part of AT&T Mobility or its subsidiaries. The company also did not concede that Bondi’s claims and allegations have merit, the settlement said.
To read the agreement in full, click here.