US Mobile Content Distributor Pays $1 Million Fine
Published on: 23rd Jan 2009
Note -- this news article is more than a year old.
The office of Florida's Attorney General Bill McCollum has reached a USD1 million settlement with a major mobile content marketer over allegations related to improper billing of mobile content. California based Mobile Messenger Americas markets mobile content for cell phones and operates as a billing aggregator for mobile content promotions.
The settlement requires the company and its clients to comply with the Attorney General's industry-leading guidelines on specific disclosure of pricing and subscription terms in the online marketing of mobile content.
"Every time mobile content is purchased, the person making that purchase deserves to know what he or she is getting and will ultimately end up paying," said Attorney General McCollum. "These compliance standards are leading the nation in reigning in the mobile content industry and holding all parties accountable."
Mobile Messenger provides mobile content, usually subscription text products for an individual's cell phone, which is marketed by internet advertising and often failed to clearly and conspicuously describe the price and terms of the subscription service. As a result, the Attorney General claimed that consumers were unwittingly being signed up for costly monthly subscriptions.
A large number of complaints generally related to the mobile content industry led the Attorney General's CyberFraud Section of the Economic Crimes Division to launch a widespread investigation over the past year which revealed thousands of Florida consumers had received mobile content charges on their cell phone bills for downloads they neither desired nor authorized.
The agreement, negotiated by the CyberFraud Section, requires that the price of cell phone content or services and other materials terms of purchase be conspicuously and specifically disclosed on all online transaction screens.