Unauthorized Charges On Cell Phone Bills Prove Difficult To Reverse

SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) — Finding an unauthorized charge on your phone bill is easy – all you have to do is scan the bill.   But some Sprint customers say getting those charges to stop is almost  impossible,  even after bringing them to Sprint’s attention.

Back in July,  Denise Kwan  noticed a never-before-seen charge of $1.89  on her family’s  Sprint bill  for a phone security  app called “Lookout Premium Security.”     “It was on my Mom’s number and she never adds anything.  She doesn’t even know what apps are,”  Kwan told Consumerwatch.

When  Kwan called Sprint to complain about the so-called “cramming”  charge  she says  the company told her she’d need to contact the app company,  San Francisco-based Lookout, directly.     But that turned out to be a problem, too.   There was no record of Kwan’s account.   “They’re trying to make me sign up in order to cancel it,”  Kwan said.

So,  Kwan went back to Sprint,  which agreed to remove the charge, cancel the service,  and credit the $1.89 back to her account.     But,  Kwan says another charge for “Lookout Premium Security,”  appeared the following month on her Sprint Bill.    “Rinse and repeat,”  Kwan said.

In all, the Bay Area resident  has been billed seven times in seven consecutive months for the same app,  which Kwan says she cancels every time she sees it on the bill.  “I tell them each time ‘I never signed up for this,  I don’t know what it is, and it keeps showing up,”   Kwan explained.

We found similar complaints about the same problem on this Sprint community webpage: https://community.sprint.com/baw/message/941234#941234

Sprint would not respond to Consumerwatch’s questions about the unauthorized charges,  instead saying it needs “to defer to Lookout on this matter as they conduct further investigation (sic).”

Lookout has provided this statement to Consumerwatch:   “We take customer experience very seriously at Lookout. We appreciate this issue being brought to our attention and are currently working diligently to get to the bottom of this issue. We plan to provide an update on the details of the issue as soon as possible.”

Last year,  , AT&T and T-Mobile both reached major settlements with federal regulators over illegally adding third party charges to their customer’s bills.   The government is reportedly still working on a deal with Sprint over unauthorized charges.   Both AT&T and T-Mobile customers can now apply for refunds.

 

More from Julie Watts
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