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Summary:

Tired of being charged for texts of dubious origin? Three major carriers have agreed to put an end to it.

I’m sure you’ve received random texts telling you that you’ve been pre-approved for a loan or that your car warranty is about to expire. But did you know that people were being charged for texting “premium SMS” fees for texting those numbers back — to the tune of $2 billion per year? Luckily, three major U.S. carriers have just agreed to put an end to premium SMS fees, which should help combat these spam texts.

The Attorney General for Vermont William Sorrell on Thursday announced, “We are pleased that AT&T, Sprint and T-Mobile have decided to stop the flow of money from the pockets of ordinary people to the bank accounts of scam artists. We’re hopeful the other carriers will soon follow their lead.”

This means that AT&T, Sprint, and T-Mobile have agreed to eliminate any sort of additional billing associated with premium SMS messages. Prior to this, a PSMS would allow you to “subscribe” to a service that could be charged to your monthly phone bill. The problem is that nearly all of these services have become spam.

The carriers will still allow donations to be made via text for charitable or political services, but you’ll not longer have to worry about an errant charge from a shady number.

Verizon released a statement explaining that, while it is not joined in the same effort as its competitors, it too is “winding down” its premium message service.

This is good news for U.S. cellular subscribers all around. It’s also a good reminder to check your phone bill every month, just in case.

  1. Its a start.

    I’m on a limited SMS plan. I get, I think, 50 messages a month. However, when I get spammed, the spam messages are deducted from the messages that I pay for.

    When I complained to AT&T, they told me “Too bad. Why don’t you upgrade for $25 a month to unlimited messages?”

    And they wonder why we hate telcos.

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  2. I recently fell victim to one of these and started getting a bogus 9.99 charge on my t-mobile bill. I asked them to remove it the moment I saw it and they said they had caught it before it billed, but there it was on my next bill. I called again and they said it would be credited back in my NEXT bill. We’ll see….. Either way, very annoying. I’m glad these con artists are being put out of business!

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