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Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott’s Office Files Legal Action Against Providers For Cellphone “Cramming”

Allen Corbin, KFYO.com

Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott has filed legal action against four text-messaging content providers for cellphone “cramming.”

According to the state’s legal action, the defendants enroll customers in premium text messaging services programs, fail to properly disclose the costs associated with the services, and then bill the customers without their consent.

The services reportedly offered by the defendants include ringtones, horoscopes, celebrity gossip news, and discount coupons.

The four content providers named in the lawsuit are Bear Communications LLC, MDK Media Inc., Anacapa Media LLC, and Tendenci Media LLC. The petition also named billing aggregator Mobile Messenger U.S. Inc., a California entity that serves as middleman between the content provider and the wireless cellphone carriers.

Mundo Media Ltd. of Canada, a paid third-party advertising network that drivers cellphone users to the content providers’ offers is also named in the lawsuit.

According to Abbott’s office, to be in compliance with recognized guidelines, content providers must obtain a customer’s consent to charges through a two-step process known as “double opt-in” verification that includes clear disclosures and an agreement to be billed for messaging services.

Abbott’s office holds that the defendants used deceptive websites to trick customers into entering their mobile phone number and a personal identification number, then treated those actions as consent to be billed.

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