UCAN has won important consumer protections that will minimize International Roaming fraud for AT&T wireless consumers when traveling abroad.
Whether you are the victim charges incurred on a stolen or lost phone, or you simply have charges for calls you did not place, UCAN's case against AT&T (for unauthorized International Roaming charges to customers who visited Ethiopia) was brought to reinforce your rights; you are NOT responsible for unauthorized International Roaming charges under California law.
While you can always give UCAN a call if you have unauthorized international roaming charges, AT&T will now have to go above and beyond to provide important protections to consumers. Amongst numerous provisions the CPUC has found
"We find the enhanced notification and account management provisions contained in the Settlement Agreement will be extremely beneficial for all existing customers since many customers may be unaware that they have the service and/or the features it contains, thus exposing these customers to substantial charges when they travel overseas with their cell phones. The Settlement Agreement is also in the public interest as it will ensure future customers are fully informed and that AT&T is quickly alerted to any fraudulent practices that occur while its customers are overseas."
Amongst other protections, AT&T must now
- Provide clear explanations of the International Roaming service and provide notice to customers regarding of whether International Roaming is enabled on their account, and how to block International Roaming charges
- Provide enhanced online tools for managing International Roaming, including allowing customer specified thresholds that cause allow the customer to be informed when they have exceeded a certain amount of usage overseas
- Refrain from unblocking secondary phones on family plans without an explicit customer request
- Provide a means for blocking International Roaming entirely from a customers' online account
- Provide customers with free text messages when arriving in countries that explain the specific rates in that country for International Roaming, and information on finding out more about International Roaming
- Maintain a customer service number accessible for free while customers are abroad
UCAN was also successful in getting the CPUC to reject AT&T's Motion to Dismiss based on the assertion that International Roaming, and for that matter any International charges, should be superceded by federal law and basic consumer protection jurisdiction taken away from the states and their public utilities commissions.
See the California Public Utilities Commission approval of settlement between Utility Consumers' Action Network and AT&T Mobility.
You can also visit the entire case history on the CPUC's website.