A long-standing issue plaguing the mobile content industry has been fraudulent or deceptive billing practices that led to consumers demanding refunds for items appearing on their wireless bill. Today, a group of mobile content providers have agreed to settle a number of class action lawsuits that allege unauthorized charges for roughly $10 million. The providers, including Flycell, Glomobi, Mobilefunster, Thumbplay, WebAMG, Glispa and Motricity, are denying any wrong doing.
The settlement was approved in the Circuit Court of Cook County in Illinois today, and is requiring the parties to set aside $9 million to pay for any potential claims and attorney fees of up to $1.85 million. In addition to the payout, the mobile content companies are required to agree to “certain consumer protection practices–including properly disclosing billing terms–as well as promptly refunding unauthorized content.” The sale of mobile content, including ringtones, games, graphics, etc., received a bad reputation in the early days for deceptive billing practices. Consumers unknowingly purchased content, or accidentally signed up for monthly subscriptions. The process only became worse through confusing billing practices. As an example, a consumer might buy a ringtone from a particular brand, but then the name of the aggregator that delivered the content, might end up on the bill.
A Thumbplay spokeswoman said in a statement: “We maintain that these claims were entirely without merit; in fact, court rulings on this matter have come down in our favor throughout the process. Today