California AT&T Customers Will No Longer Have To Pay For Calls Made On A Stolen Phone

The California Attorney General has announced a settlement with AT&T that ensures that California AT&T customers will no longer have to pay for calls made on a stolen phone, a complaint that often comes sailing into our inbox, but has no easy fix.

Edmund G. Brown Jr., Attorney General of California, says:

“No cell phone company should profit from calls made by thieves or unauthorized users.”

The judgment states that AT&T must either credit the disputed charges or, in the event that AT&T wants to investigate, inform that customer of:

  • The right to have the case investigated within 30 days
  • The right to provide information showing a customer did not authorize the calls
  • The right not to pay disputed charges during the investigation
  • The right to appeal the outcome of an investigation to the California Public Utilities Commission

The AG encouraged other wireless companies to follow AT&T’s lead and offer the same protection to their customers.

The California AG’s office began their investigation into AT&T’s stolen phone policy after a consumer complained that they were being held responsible for charges tied to phone calls that originated in Mexico. The consumer had never been to Mexico.

California AT&T customers who have been involved in a billing dispute over a lost or stolen phone since 2003 are eligible under this judgment, so give them a call.

Original Complaint (PDF) [California AG]
Attorney General Brown Settles Stolen Cell Phone Billing Disputes (Press Release) [California AG]
Judgment (PDF) [California AG]
AT&T changes billing policy on lost, stolen cell phones[Sacramento Bee] (Thanks, Andy!)

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