If you were charged on your residential or local phone bill for third party services and subscriptions (i.e., voicemail, internet access, web hosting, email, caller-id services or other premium services “billed on behalf of” third party merchants, etc.) that you never authorized or ordered, tell us your story!
What is Cramming?
Cramming refers to the placing of unauthorized, misleading, or deceptive charges on your telephone bill. The term was coined to express the idea that such charges are often hidden or “crammed” in obscure fashions within consumers’ bills so that they are difficult to notice.
What are Third Party Charges?
In addition to providing local telephone service, local telephone companies often bill their customers for long distance and other services that other companies provide. Local telephone companies have billing and collection contracts with a wide variety of companies and industries relating to telecommunications.
This billing method offers an easy and convenient way for both companies and consumers to deal with billing for telecommunications services, but also presents a convenient route for fraud if not used properly. If a local telephone company, long distance telephone company, or another type of service provider either accidentally or intentionally places unauthorized, misleading, or deceptive charges on your bill, you may have been “crammed.”
Cramming can also occur if a local or long distance company or another type of service provider does not clearly or accurately describe all of the relevant charges to you when marketing a service. Although you may have authorized the service, you did not understand or were misled about how much it would really cost.
Examples of Unauthorized Local Phone Bill Charges
Typical unauthorized charges relate to services to which a customer must subscribe and which are billed on a recurring basis, such as:
- voice mail and mail server fees;
- charges for a variety of Internet services;
- monthly fees associated with calling cards;
- caller-id services;
- informational services (weather, sports, credit counseling, etc.);
- dues for membership in certain programs or plans;
- “service fees” “service charges” “minimum monthly usage fee” and ”other fees”; and
- any other recurring fee for services that were not authorized by the customer.
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If you were charged on your local residential telephone bill for third party services and subscriptions that you never authorized, tell us your story!