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AT&T, Verizon, Sprint, T-Mobile Stopping Most Premium Text Billing

Fri, 11/22/2013 - 11:00am
Ben Munson

The four major U.S. carriers have agreed to stop charging for most premium SMS in the hopes of curbing fraud.

Lawmakers from 45 states pushed for mobile operators to move away from the practice. Vermont Attorney General Bill Sorrell announced in a statement that AT&T, Sprint and T-Mobile all agreed to cease most PSMS charges to help prevent customers from getting hit with fraudulent third-party charges, a practice referred to as “cramming.”

“This is a victory for cell phone users in Vermont and across the nation,” said Attorney General Sorrell in the statement. “While PSMS has some benefits, like charitable giving, it is also a major contributor to the current mobile cramming problem. We are pleased that AT&T, Sprint and T-Mobile have decided to stop the flow of money from the pockets of ordinary people to the bank accounts of scam artists.”

AllThingsD pointed out that, although not mentioned in the statement, Verizon is also discontinuing most PSMS charges.

In 2011, Verizon sued a group of companies that were accused of tricking customers on its network to sign up for expensive, fraudulent PSMS.

Andrew Bud, global chair of mobile trade association MEF, issued a statement saying, “The decisions taken this week in the U.S. will put an end to the deplorable business of mobile cramming in that market.  It is also an example of how a useful model of mobile commerce can forfeit its place in the market.”

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