Sprint Settles Lawsuit over Improper Messaging Charges
If you are or have been a Sprint customer with a messaging plan, listen up. The carrier has agreed to pay up to $19 million in order to settle charges that it improperly charged customers.
Sprint denies any wrongdoing, but has decided to settle now to avoid additional court costs. Sprint customers between January 1, 2008 and June 30, 2012 may be eligible to participate in the settlement, court documents show.
Those who file a claim are eligible for a cash payment of up to $20, or a non-cash payment that includes free services, fee waivers, and discounts. Users must fill out a claim form to receive benefits, which will be set up following court approval of the settlement.
Customers are eligible to receive three months of free unlimited data (as long as they don’t have data already), or a waiver of the $36 activation fee for a new line of service. Other options include a $20 credit for former customers with an inactive account and an outstanding balance, or a Sprint gift card worth $25.
Who Can Cash In?
In order to participate, customers must fall into one of three categories:
- Customers who incurred data charges for using services otherwise included in their messaging plans
- Customers who feel they were not informed how to use their messaging plans to avoid additional charges
- Customers who had requested Sprint block data use and charges and were not able to use all features of their messaging plans
Most smartphone customers will likely not be eligible as the carrier has required an attached data plan. Those who appear eligible here are those with “dumb” phones, where data is not required. Picture and video messages require a small amount of data to send, so these customers have incurred additional charges they didn’t plan for.
The court is likely to approve the settlement in a preliminary hearing on July 16. Final approval and the release of benefits will likely not occur until after the final approval hearing scheduled for December 10.