WASHINGTON, April 25 (UPI) -- Although AT&T and Lucent Technologies settled a lawsuit that alleged they overcharged U.S. consumers for phone leases, few customers received refunds.
Only $8 million of the $350 million settlement has been paid to customers, but between $50 million to $80 million has been paid to lawyers since the August 2002 settlement, WTOP-AM in Washington reported Monday.
"The consumer is the last one on this long list of people that gets the money," says Chris Baker of AARP's Public Policy Institute.
As many as 30 million consumers may have been eligible for the pay out, but only 92,000 filed for the refund, which amounted to between $15 to $80 depending on the length of the lease, WTOP said.
Many senior citizens thought the bill to lease the AT&T-branded telephone every three months was their phone bill, according to Baker.
The companies did not admit liability in the settlement. Another $50 million has been given to charity in the form of calling cards.