US judge signs off on Sprint’s $50 million ‘cramming’ settlement
NEW YORK – A US judge signed off on Tuesday on a $50 million settlement between the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and Sprint Corp over claims the mobile carrier added unauthorized charges to customer phone bills.
In May, US District Judge William Pauley in New York had demanded additional evidence of the deal’s fairness before he would approve the agreement, citing a dearth of details in the initial papers filed jointly by the two sides.
The settlement is part of a broader deal in which Sprint and Verizon Communications Inc agreed to pay $68 million and $90 million, respectively, to end various government probes into the practice of “cramming,” in which mobile carriers charge customers for services such as horoscopes that they never ordered.
Last year, AT&T Inc paid $105 million and T-Mobile US $90 million to settle similar probes.
Pauley and several other federal judges in recent years have complained that parties seeking court approval for settlements have sometimes viewed their role as little more than applying a rubber stamp. In signing off on the deal, Pauley did not address how his concerns had been met.
A spokeswoman for the CFPB declined to comment. A Sprint spokeswoman was not immediately available to comment.
The case is Consumer Financial Protection Bureau v. Sprint Corporation, US District Court for the Southern District of New York, No. 14-cv-09931. – REUTERS