The FCC Plans to Fine Sprint $105 Million for Overcharging Customers for Unwanted Texts

dgstorm

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Apparently, the FCC is putting the hammer down on Sprint for some questionable practices it engaged in during the fall of 2013. According to the FCC's investigation, Sprint sent out unsolicited text messages to a portion of its customers without their consent, and then still charged them (counted these texts against their allotment) for the texts.

The FCC even claims that Sprint intentionally did this to "cram" these customers with extra charges. Here's a quote with more of the details,

The report says that the FCC is focusing on a three-month window in the fall of last year, during which the Commission received over 35,000 complaints from Sprint customers. The unwanted text messages included the usual carrier "alerts," ringtones, sports information, and even horoscopes, which the FCC says Sprint knowingly and willfully sent to customers with the intent to "cram" them with extra charges. At least a portion of the fine, calculated based on the volume and cost of the charges, would be reserved for affected Sprint customers to claim.

The investigation enlisted the help of the US Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and various state Attorneys General, and the Wall Street Journal source claims that at least three of five FCC commissioners will vote in favor of the fine. It would tie a fine forced on AT&T for overbilling earlier this year as the largest in the Commission's history. For context, Sprint recorded a net income of $8.5 billion for the third quarter of this year, with an operating loss of $192 million - if the full fine was imposed it wouldn't be a crushing blow, but it wouldn't be a slap on the wrist, either. ~ AndroidPolice

Seems pretty shady of Sprint. It makes you wonder how many of the carriers do this stuff and get away with it.
 

xsylus

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Often these type of SMS messages come through as "short-codes" and while Sprint doesn't charge your for receiving a short-code text (although they will count it towards your text usage) if you reply to any of these messages with "STOP" at that point you're texting back through a short-code which Sprint defines as a "premium service" and they'll bill you $9.99 per usage.
 
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