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Group Sues Sprint, Cingular For 'Cellular Cramming'

A consumer protection group Wednesday said it has complained to California government regulators that Sprint and Cingular are charging customers for unwanted text messaging and ringtones.

The Utility Consumers' Action Network (UCAN) said in two complaints to California's Public Utilities Commission that the cellular operators are participating in "cellular cramming." It said in a statement that the "more pernicious" charge was against Sprint.

The group claimed in a statement that it has documented instances in which Sprint charges customers for text messages it sends unbidden to those customers advertising its services. The group further charged that Sprint refused to put those customers on a "do not spam" list and only gave the customers the option to receive no text messages at all.

UCAN said it is seeking an injunction against Sprint for the alleged practice.

“Cell phone customers should not be charged for ads sent to their phones by the carriers themselves, let alone any other advertiser," Michael Shames, the group's executive director, said in a statement. "Regulators need to stop this new rip-off in its tracks and put an end to unwanted text messages by preventing wireless companies from charging for this Cellular Cram.”

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