05-21-2018  9:42 pm      •     
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NEWS BRIEFS

Raina Croff to Speak at Architectural Heritage Center

'When the Landmarks are Gone: Older African Americans, Place, and Change in N/NE Portland’ describes SHARP Walking Program ...

Portland Playhouse Presents August Wilson’s ‘Fences’ Through June 10

May 20 performance will include discussion on mental health; June 10 performance will be followed by discussion of fatherhood ...

Peggy Houston-Shivers Presents Benefit Concert for Allen Temple CME

Concert to take place May 20 at Maranatha Church ...

Family Friendly Talent Show, May 18

Family Fun Night series continues at Matt Dishman Community Center ...

Settlement reached in LGBT school harassment

SALEM, Ore. (AP) — An openly gay couple was walking in their Oregon high school parking lot when the principal's son drove up, veered away at the last second and shouted an anti-gay slur at the two girls. In class, a teacher equated same-sex marriage with bestiality.The girls complained to...

The Latest: Settlement reached in LGBT school harassment

SALEM, Ore. (AP) — The Latest on the case of LGBTQ discrimination at an Oregon high school.6:30 p.m.:The principal of an Oregon high school will resign and its school district will commit to improving the climate for LGBTQ students as part of a settlement reached between the American Civil...

Paul Allen donates jumiM to Washington gun initiative

SEATTLE (AP) — Microsoft co-founder and Seattle Seahawks owner Paul Allen has donated jumi million to a campaign seeking to raise the age to purchase semi-automatic rifles from 18 to 21 in Washington state.Allen made the announcement on Twitter Monday.The Alliance for Gun Responsibility says...

Man accused of trying to kill woman with opioid spray

MUKILTEO, Wash. (AP) — An Everett man is accused of holding down his ex-girlfriend at a Mukilteo hotel, shoving Xanax down her throat and forcing a fentanyl spray up her nose in what police say was attempted murder.The Daily Herald reports the woman survived and was able to escape and alert...

OPINION

Golfing While Black Is Not a Crime

Grandview Golf Club asks five Black women to leave for golfing too slow ...

Discovering the Best of Black America in 2018

Dr. Benjamin F. Chavis discusses the DTU Journalism Fellowship & Scholarship Program ...

Will Israel’s Likud Party Ever Respect the Rights of Palestinians?

Bill Fletcher weighs in on the precarious future of the two-state solution between the Israeli government and the Palestinian people ...

The Future of Medicinal Marijuana in Pets

Dr. Jasmine Streeter says CBD-derived products show beneficial therapeutic benefits for pets ...

AFRICAN AMERICANS IN THE NEWS

China sentences Tibetan activist to 5 years for separatism

BEIJING (AP) — China has sentenced a Tibetan language activist to five years in prison for inciting separatism after he appeared in a documentary video produced by The New York Times.Tashi Wangchuk's lawyer Liang Xiaojun told The Associated Press that a judge in Qinghai province passed down...

Settlement reached in LGBT school harassment

SALEM, Ore. (AP) — An openly gay couple was walking in their Oregon high school parking lot when the principal's son drove up, veered away at the last second and shouted an anti-gay slur at the two girls. In class, a teacher equated same-sex marriage with bestiality.The girls complained to...

Correction: 2018 Midterms-Endorsements story

ATLANTA (AP) — In a story May 20 about potential Democratic presidential candidates and their campaign activity in 2018, The Associated Press reported erroneously that former Vice President Joe Biden was planning to campaign in North Carolina on behalf of a congressional candidate Dan...

ENTERTAINMENT

Actress who accused Weinstein needs money to finish film

NEW YORK (AP) — Actress Paz de la Huerta has started a crowdfunding campaign to finish a movie she began making years before she publicly accused Harvey Weinstein of rape.The movie "Valley of Tears" is her take on the Hans Christian Andersen story "The Red Shoes," about a little girl with a...

Sony invests in image sensors, acquires more of EMI Music

TOKYO (AP) — Electronics and entertainment company Sony Corp. said Tuesday it plans to invest 1 trillion yen ( billion) mostly in image sensors over the next three years, under a revamped strategy to strengthen both hardware and creative content.Sony also plans to buy for [scripts/homepage/home.php].3 billion a 60...

At Cannes, a #MeToo upheaval up and down the Croisette

CANNES, France (AP) — Fifty years after filmmakers shut down the Cannes Film Festival, the prestigious Cote d'Azur extravaganza was again shook by upheaval.From the start to the finish, the 71st Cannes was dominated by protest and petition for gender equality, culminating in the...

U.S. & WORLD NEWS

Miss Nebraska wins Miss USA competition

SHREVEPORT, La. (AP) — Sarah Rose Summers from Nebraska beat out 50 other women Monday to win this year's...

Deadly Florida airport shooting results in plea deal for man

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. (AP) — Federal prosecutors filed court documents Monday in which an Alaska man agreed...

What is lava haze? A look at Hawaii's latest volcanic hazard

PAHOA, Hawaii (AP) — Lava from Hawaii's Kilauea volcano is pouring into the sea and setting off a chemical...

Congo Ebola vaccination campaign begins with health workers

KINSHASA, Congo (AP) — Congo began an Ebola vaccination campaign Monday in a northwest provincial capital...

Social media under microscope in emotive Irish abortion vote

DUBLIN (AP) — In homes and pubs, on leaflets and lampposts, debate is raging in Ireland over whether to...

Aide: Palestinian leader making swift recovery in hospital

JERUSALEM (AP) — Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas is alert and making a swift recovery after being...

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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