AT&T is settling five lawsuits alleging that part of its wireless division violated federal law with some of its billing practices.
The original plaintiffs said AT&T Wireless Services Inc. violated the Federal Communications Act by including charges for mMode Data Service when consumers had not authorized the charges or did not understand disclosures related to them. AT&T Wireless and Cingular Wireless were merged into AT&T Mobility. The accusations and settlements don't involve practices at the former Cingular company or the current Mobility division and AT&T is not admitting wrongdoing.
An AT&T spokesman declined to comment on the estimated number of affected customers or the potential cost of the settlement.
Plaintiffs also said AT&T Wireless Services added fees for its ENH Discount International Dial service when consumers had not approved them or did not understand them, and did not always charge for calls in the billing period in which the calls were made. The suits also challenge the wireless company’s universal connectivity charge, alleging subscribers were not aware when they signed up that the service would be billed.
As part of the settlement people who were customers of the former AT&T Wireless Services after March 1, 1999, can get $8 for claims related to the company’s mMode Data Service; $10 for claims made on international dialing; and $7 for universal connectivity charges. Customers who allege they were billed out of cycle could get $8 or a 250-minute phone card.
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