The Florida Attorney General’s CyberFraud Task Force juggernaut against “free” ringtones has notched another victory in a settlement with AT&T Mobility.
Attorney General Bill McCollum announced today that his office reached a settlement with AT&T Mobility.
In a significant step toward protecting consumers throughout the nation from unauthorized charges on cell phone bills, Attorney General Bill McCollum today announced that AT&T Mobility will be the first wireless company in the nation to police representations made in internet advertising for cell phone content to ensure fair and full disclosure. The company will also make full restitution to Florida consumers who were unknowingly billed for free cell phone content. The cooperative agreement reached by the Attorney General’s CyberFraud Task Force with AT&T Mobility will establish a new model for the advertising and billing of cell phone content. Additionally, AT&T Mobility will pay $2.5 million to the Attorney General’s Office to fund the efforts of the task force as it continues to press for similar reform across the industry and will contribute an additional $500,000 toward consumer education on safe internet use.
Consumers should never be billed for services they thought were free of charge, said Attorney General Bill McCollum. Today’s agreement establishes a precedent for wireless companies accepting responsibility for the way cell phone content is advertised on the internet and the manner in which charges are passed along to consumers. AT&T should be commended for being the first wireless company in the industry to offer this reform.
Some examples of the misleading advertisements were made available by the Florida Attorney General’s CyberFraud Task Force:
The effort from the Florida Attorney General’s office is a little more than a year old. Last year, they started knocking on doors and searching for information on affiliate marketers that were promoting deceptive ringtone offers.