AT&T offers refunds on fraudulent calls

April 29, 2008 7:24:08 PM PDT
If you are a customer of AT&T or Cingular, you have less than 24-hours to take advantage of a groundbreaking settlement for people who lost their cell phones.

The refund is part of a settlement reached between the phone giant and Attorney General Jerry Brown back in October.

It's an agreement that could trickle down to other cell phone providers as well.

Ashok Desai of Fremont knows first hand the importance of the agreement. Hs son lost his cell phone in 2003 and ended up being billed for calls made to Cuba and other long distance destinations. The bill came out to $4,600.

Under the agreement, AT&T agreed to refund any customers billed for fraudulent calls made as far back as 2003. They also agreed, customers who lose their cell phones in the future, would not be billed for calls they didn't make.

"It's a fair settlement. I think it should have been done in the past," says Desai.

Attorney General Jerry Brown announced the settlement in October and vowed other phone companies would follow AT&T's lead.

"We're going to go after the other companies now. They've been reluctant," says Brown.

However, it has been six months and no other agreements have been reached.

Bill Nusbaum, with the Utility Reform Network in San Francisco, says cell phone providers have been hesitant to credit customer's accounts in the past.

"I think that's starting to change, particularly given the AT&T settlement," says Nusbaum.

We talked to Sprint, T-Mobile and Verizon. All three said customers are not responsible for unauthorized charges after a cell phone is lost or stolen. Customers are encouraged to report their lost cell phones immediately.

What if they don't find out until later their phone is missing?

"In those kind of situations, particularly when phone charges have been racked up, the companies have traditionally been very reticent to credit people's account," says Nusbaum.

He'd like to see a law passed limiting a customer's liability in those cases to $50, which is similar to laws protecting credit card holders.

As for Desai, AT&T has informed him he will be receiving a $3,500 refund. His claim was originally rejected, but reviewed again after he called 7 On Your Side for help.

If you think you qualify to receive a claim from AT&T, you need to file for it by Wednesday April 30. We have a link below.

File a claim with AT&T
https://lostorstolenphone.com


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