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Verizon Wireless, Sprint in $158M settlement with FCC over cramming

Verizon Wireless and Sprint will have to pony up $158 million in settlements for billing customers millions of dollars for unauthorized third-party text messaging services, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has ruled.

The two are the latest wireless companies to draw the FCC's wrath for the practice known as cramming, prompting Commission Chairman Tom Wheeler to quip, “We call these fraudulent charges ‘cramming,' and with today's agreements we are calling them history for Verizon and Sprint customers.”

Indeed, Verizon's $90 million fine and the $68 million that Sprint must pay are largely on par with settlements of $105 million and $90 million entered into by AT&T and T-Mobile, respectively.

An FCC release said, monthly charges for the premium service ranged from 99 cents to $14 with Verizon keeping 30 percent of each third-party charge and Sprint retaining 35 percent of the revenue collected.

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