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Sprint to settle messaging suit for $19M

Thu, 06/21/2012 - 3:14pm
Maisie Ramsay, Wireless Week

Sprint will pay up to $19 million to settle a class-action lawsuit over charges for picture messaging.

The 2010 complaint alleges that Sprint improperly charged customers for using their cell phones to send pictures and did not properly inform subscribers that the multimedia messages were not included in their texting plans.

Sprint continues to deny any wrongdoing.

"While we maintain our position and deny all claims, we decided that it is in the best interest of our business and our customers to settle this case," a Sprint spokesman said.

Court documents show that the settlement includes $3.5 million to pay the plaintiff's legal fees and the establishment of a $3 million escrow account to "provide monetary relief" to customers covered by the suit.

The settlement covers Sprint postpaid customers who signed up for a messaging plan between Jan. 1, 2008, and the end of this month.

Sprint has agreed to provide up to $8 million worth of non-cash benefits in the form of three months of unlimited 3G data, the waiver of a $36 activation fee for a new line of service, and a $20 account credit or a $25 gift card that can be used to purchase accessories in Sprint retail stores. Plaintiffs who prefer cash have the option of a $20 payment.

The proposed settlement still needs to be cleared by the court. A hearing on preliminary approval is set for July 16, according to Reuters.

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