A Wilmington law firm suing wireless carrier SunCom Wireless is proposing a legal settlement that could potentially benefit more than 55,000 current and former SunCom customers in North Carolina.
The lawsuit, filed in January on behalf of a New Hanover County resident, accuses SunCom of adding deceptive charges to customers' cell phone bills beginning in 2003. According to the suit, SunCom offered customers a free "detailed billing" feature and subsequently charged $2 a month for the service.
Some customers were charged without any notice, and others were charged after they notified the company to stop the service, the suit claims. The service provided an itemized monthly list of all phone calls and their duration.
Under the proposed settlement, SunCom would pay $1.50 for every month it wrongly billed for the service. The payments would be made to state residents who were SunCom customers between December 2002 through June 8, 2011.
The reason June 8 is the cutoff date is because that's when the Superior Court of New Hanover County has set a hearing to approve the settlement. The settlement agreement specifies payment by check to former customers and by bill credits for current customers.
The firm suing SunCom, Shipman & Wright, advertised the proposed settlement in nine newspapers across the state, including in Raleigh, Durham, Greensboro and Fayetteville.
The firm also sent out direct mail notices to the 55,000-plus potential beneficiaries.
To qualify for the refunds, the former and current customers have to fill out a claim form saying they received the detailed billing service but did not want it.
SunCom was acquired by T-Mobile in 2008.