01-21-2020  10:40 am   •   PDX Weather    •   SEA weather  
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NORTHWEST NEWS

The Skanner in Step With Changing Times

Celebrating a history of service

Starbucks, Home of the $4 Latte, is Moving Into Poor Areas

Starbucks plans to open or remodel 85 stores by 2025 in rural and urban communities across the U.S. The effort will bring to 100 the number of "community stores" Starbucks has opened since it announced the program in 2015

Native American Curriculum Rolls Out in Oregon Classrooms

The state developed the curriculum, as required by Senate Bill 13, with the input of Native leaders for 18 months, but is still behind. A soft roll-out begins this month

Community Surprised at Police Chief’s Departure, Concerned by Quick Replacement

Deputy Chief Jami Resch immediately named as successor.

NEWS BRIEFS

Annual “Salute to Greatness” Luncheon Celebrating Students, Community & Civic Leaders

Keynote Speaker: Ms. Rukaiyah Adams, Chair of Oregon Investment Council & Chief Investment Officer at Meyer Memorial Trust....

Grant High School Students to Read Their Own Work at Broadway Books

Local author and writing instructor Joanna Rose will lead thegroup of young writers at the event to be held on Wednesday, January 22 ...

AG Rosenblum Announces $4 Million Settlement with CenturyLink

Since 2014, Oregon DOJ has received more than 1,200 consumer complaints about CenturyLink ...

Black Guest at Downtown Portland Hotel Sues Over ‘No Party’ Promise

Felicia Gonzales claims the front desk clerk at the Residence Inn told her that all guests had to sign the policy, but she watched...

National Urban League Warns Trump Administration: Don't Weaken Community Reinvestment Act to Allow Racial Discrimination in Lending

Proposed changes to the Community Reinvestment Act could further limit access to the American Dream ...

2 pedestrians killed in Vancouver crash

VANCOUVER, Wash. (AP) — Police say two pedestrians were killed in a crash in Vancouver, Washington, Tuesday morning.The crash happened about 6:30 a.m. Vancouver Police Department spokeswoman Kim Kapp told The Columbian that the victims include a child between the ages of 10 and 14 and an...

Lawyer: Michael Avenatti too isolated in jail to help case

NEW YORK (AP) — Michael Avenatti, the jet-setting lawyer who once represented porn star Stormy Daniels in her battles with President Donald Trump, is now being imprisoned in the same chilly cell that once held drug kingpin El Chapo, his lawyer said.“The temperature in his cell feels...

New Missouri coach Eli Drinkwitz predicts success

COLUMBIA, Mo. (AP) — Eli Drinkwitz was saying all the right things after being introduced as the new football coach at Missouri, laying out his vision for the once-proud program with unwavering confidence and bold proclamations.Then the former Appalachian State coach made a minor...

LSU's Burrow, Auburn's Brown named AP SEC players of year

LSU quarterback Joe Burrow is a unanimous selection as the offensive player of the year on The Associated Press All-Southeastern Conference football team.The top-ranked Tigers also have the SEC’s coach of the year in Ed Orgeron and the newcomer of the year in freshman cornerback Derek...

OPINION

Martin Luther King Day is an Opportunity for Service

Find out where you can volunteer and make a difference to the community ...

Looking to 2020 — Put Your Vote to WORK!

Ronald Reagan, who turned his back on organized labor and started America’s middle-class into a tailspin, has recently been voted by this administration’s NLRB into the Labor Hall of Fame ...

How Putting Purpose Into Your New Year’s Resolutions Can Bring Meaning and Results

Only 4% of people report following through on all of the resolutions they personally set ...

I Was Just Thinking… Mama in the Classroom

I wrote my first column in 1988 for a local newspaper about a beloved Dallas guidance counselor and teacher that most students called “Mama” ...

AFRICAN AMERICANS IN THE NEWS

Survivor stories spotlight Auschwitz liberation anniversary

JERUSALEM (AP) — Shortly before they were rounded up by Nazi troops in Belgium and deported to Auschwitz in 1942, the parents of 3-year-old Maurice Gluck placed their only child in the care of a local Christian family. Gluck forgot his Yiddish mother tongue and that he even had parents of...

AP FACT CHECK: Trump spreads distortions at Davos

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump spread distorted information about the U.S. economy and his administration's involvement with historically black colleges in a preening performance Tuesday at the Davos economic conference in the Swiss Alps.A sampling of his remarks:TRUMP, on...

Program features teen who began book club for black students

ST. LOUIS (AP) — When a black student from St. Louis created a book club because didn’t find books at his majority-white school’s library that told stories of people who look like him, he had no idea his initiative would land him on Disney’s screen as a hero. Sidney Keys...

ENTERTAINMENT

'Parasite' parties, Leo greets young fans inside SAG Awards

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Off-camera and during commercials, the stars at the Screen Actors Guild Awards got to rub shoulders, give congratulatory kisses, and meet for the first or the 50th time. Here are some of the more memorable moments from inside Sunday night's ceremony at the Shrine...

Jazz composer and saxophone player Jimmy Heath dies at 93

NEW YORK (AP) — Jimmy Heath, a Grammy-nominated jazz saxophonist and composer who performed with such greats as Miles Davis and John Coltrane before forming the popular family group the Heath Brothers in middle age, has died. He was 93.Heath's grandson Fa Mtume told The New York Times that...

'Parasite' wins at SAG Awards, so do Pitt and Aniston

“Parasite” has officially infected Hollywood's award season. Bong Joon Ho’s Korean class satire became the first foreign language film to take top honors from the Screen Actors Guild on Sunday, setting itself up as a legitimate best picture contender to the front-runner...

U.S. & WORLD NEWS

Survivor stories spotlight Auschwitz liberation anniversary

JERUSALEM (AP) — Shortly before they were rounded up by Nazi troops in Belgium and deported to Auschwitz in...

Planned Parenthood endorses challenger to Sen. Susan Collins

PORTLAND, Maine (AP) — Planned Parenthood on Tuesday endorsed a Democratic challenger to Republican Sen....

100s in river 'no-man's land' after Mexico troops block way

CIUDAD HIDALGO, Mexico (AP) — Hundreds of Central American migrants were stranded in a sort of...

Abused circus animals arrive at South African sanctuary

WINBURG, South Africa (AP) — Twelve tigers and five lions have been relocated to a sanctuary in South...

Poland calls on Putin to tell truth at WWII event in Israel

WARSAW, Poland (AP) — Poland appealed to Russian President Vladimir Putin on Tuesday to refrain from using...

Architect of CIA interrogation program faces 9/11 defendants

FORT MEADE, Md. (AP) — An architect of the harsh CIA interrogation program created after the Sept. 11...

McMenamins
Bob Ferguson
The Skanner News

Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson

More than 230,000 Washington customers may be entitled to payouts over unauthorized telecom charges on their T-Mobile bills.

Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson $90 million nationwide agreement with T-Mobile, resolving allegations the company placed unauthorized third-party service charges on subscribers’ telephone bills.

Consumer victims of this practice, called “cramming,” are socked with charges, typically $9.99 per month, for “premium” text message services (PSMS) — such as horoscopes, trivia, and sports scores — that they have never requested or even heard of.

“I will not tolerate deceptive billing practices,” Ferguson said. “My office will hold any company accountable that tries to hide unauthorized charges in the fine print of a consumer’s bill.”

Under the agreement, T-Mobile will pay at least $67.5 million in restitution to consumers around the country in the form of refunds or debt forgiveness.  Consumers must contact T-Mobile to request a refund at www.t-mobilerefund.com.

According to T-Mobile’s records, an estimated 230,754 Washington customers may be eligible for restitution.

The Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Division worked with the attorneys general of all 49 other states and the District of Columbia as well as the Federal Communications Commission and the Federal Trade Commission to bring about today’s resolution.

T-Mobile is the second mobile telephone provider to enter into a nationwide settlement which Washington has helped to lead to resolve allegations regarding cramming. Attorney General Ferguson announced a similar, $105 million settlement with AT&T in October of this year. T-Mobile and AT&T were among the four major mobile carriers — in addition to Verizon and Sprint — that announced they would stop billing customers for commercial PSMS charges in the fall of 2013.

The agreement requires T-Mobile to stay out of the PSMS business, which law enforcement agencies believe represents the lion’s share of the cramming problem.

The company must also take steps to ensure it’s only billing customers for charges that have been authorized. These steps include:

  • Obtaining customers’ express consent before billing for third-party charges, and ensuring consumers are only charged for services if they are informed of all material terms and conditions of their payment.
  • Providing a full refund or credit to any customer billed for unauthorized third-party charges in the future.
  • Informing new customers that they can either block third-party charges or choose to use their mobile phone to pay third-party charges.
  • Presenting third-party charges in a dedicated section of consumers’ mobile phone bills, which clearly distinguishes them from T-Mobile’s charges and contains information about how to block third-party charges.

In addition to restitution, T-Mobile will pay $18 million to go to cost recovery for the 50 states and the District of Columbia, whose attorneys general participated in the agreement. Washington’s share of that money is $726,583.07. The FCC will receive $4.5 million.

TO REQUEST A REFUND:

Beginning today, eligible current or former T-Mobile customers should submit claims to the T-Mobile cramming refund program by visiting www.t-mobilerefund.com

On that website, consumers can submit a claim, find information about refund eligibility and how to obtain a refund, and can request a free account summary that details PSMS purchases on their accounts. 

Consumers who have questions about the program can visit the program website or call the Refund Administrator at (855) 382-6403.   

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