Feeds

Calif. court OKs suit against Nextel billing 'spam'

Millions at stake, but for whom?

The Power of One Infographic

A US consumer lobby group has won an appeal to sue Nextel over "text messages spam" sent to customers – three years ago.

Last week, a California Court of Appeal overturned a lower court decision to block legal action against the cellco (now called Sprint Nextel) over alleged unfair billing practices.

According to the Foundation for Taxpayers and Consumer Rights (FTCR), which is fighting the case, Nextel should refund maybe millions of dollars to customers who were mistakenly charged on 12 September - the day the cellco got its wires crossed over "phony text messages" sent out by mistake. On that day Nextel sent four texts to each customer, at up to 60c a pop.

To put this into perspective, customers were ripped off to the tune of $2.40 - max - each. In the scheme of things, this is not a great hurt to individual customers. But what really gets the FTCR's goat is Nextel's alleged response to the SNAFU, namely to refund only those customers who figured out they were charged for the messages and then called the company to claim a refund.

From the sound of it, customers who jumped through those hoops were few and far between. To uncover the gouging-by-text in the first place, one would have had to be a hyper-scrutinizing skinflint, or blessed with second sight. For in October 2003, Nextel stopped itemized billing and "unilaterally ceased providing itemization of all phone calls on its monthly bill. Customers "were told they would have to pay $2.50 per phone for the information," according to the FTCR. "The lack of an itemized bill makes it impossible to determine whether charges are accurate," it adds.

The FCTR, which has pursued Nextel since 2003, wants the company to change its billing practices.

Press release here. ®

The Essential Guide to IT Transformation

More from The Register

next story
Major problems beset UK ISP filth filters: But it's OK, nobody uses them
It's almost as though pr0n was actually rather popular
Google Nest, ARM, Samsung pull out Thread to strangle ZigBee
But there's a flaw in Google's IP-based IoT system
Orange spent weekend spamming customers with TXTs
Zero, not infinity, is the Magic Number customers want
US freemium mobile network eyes up Europe
FreedomPop touts 'free' calls, texts and data
Apple orders huge MOUNTAIN of 80 MILLION 'Air' iPhone 6s
Bigger, harder trouser bulges foretold for fanbois
'Two-speed internet' storm turns FCC.gov into zero-speed website
Deadline for comments on net neutrality shake-up extended to Friday
NBN Co execs: No FTTN product until 2015
Faster? Not yet. Cheaper? No data
Oh girl, you jus' didn't: Level 3 slaps Verizon in Netflix throttle blowup
Just hook us up to more 10Gbps ports, backbone biz yells in tit-for-tat spat
prev story

Whitepapers

Seven Steps to Software Security
Seven practical steps you can begin to take today to secure your applications and prevent the damages a successful cyber-attack can cause.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications
Learn about the various considerations for defending mobile applications - from the application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies.
Build a business case: developing custom apps
Learn how to maximize the value of custom applications by accelerating and simplifying their development.
Consolidation: the foundation for IT and business transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.