AT&T settles content lawsuits

AT&T has settled a class-action lawsuit in which customers were receiving mysterious charges for ringtones and other third party content. The suit, which was approved by a Georgia court last Friday, says that the third-party content providers involved in the lawsuit had customers sign up for their content by entering their phone numbers on websites or by sending text messages. The charges, which were poorly explained or hidden, appeared on customers' cell phone bills, often as a recurring monthly charge.

Customers will be able to claim refunds for charges that appeared on up to three of their monthly bills between Jan. 1, 2004 and May 30, 2008.

This is believed to be the first nationwide settlement over third-party content lawsuits, however, similar suits have been filed against Verizon Wireless, Sprint Nextel and T-Mobile USA. AT&T now requires that customers who purchase content through third-party vendors must confirm that they have done so by replying to a text message. Content providers are also required to send monthly reminders to customers telling them how to unsubscribe from the services.

For more:
- see this AP story
- see this press release

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Sprint sued over unauthorized mobile content fee