Nearly two years after AT&T was hit with a $105 million settlement over bill-cramming — the practice of letting third parties place questionable or false charges on customers’ phone bills — the Federal Communications Commission says the company has agreed to pay another $7.5 million to close the book on additional cramming accusations involving a bogus directory assistance service. [More]
AT&T Penalized $7.75 Million For Allowing Scammers To Charge Bogus “Directory Assistance Service” Fees
The holidays can be a tiring, stressful time, full of never-ending checklists. While you might have checked off plenty of your to-do items, if you’re a Verizon or Sprint customer, you’ll want to make sure you add “check to see if I’m eligible for a bill-cramming refund,” to the top of your list. [More]
If your to-do list currently has a spot marked “apply for cramming refund from T-Mobile,” then you’d better hop to it. Individuals who currently have or had wireless service with the “Uncarrier” in the last five years have just 14 more days (the deadline is June 30) to apply for a refund as part of the mobile company’s $112.5 million settlement with the Federal Trade Commission for tacking-on third-party charges to customers’ bills – a practice known as cramming. You can visit the settlement website to see if you’re eligible or to submit a claim. [WTNH-TV]
Earlier this year, AT&T and T-Mobile both reached major settlements with federal regulators over the illegal practice of cramming: third-party charges snuck onto wireless customers’ bills without their authorization. Combined, the two settlements will put about $170 million back in consumers’ pockets. But in order to get money back, consumers first have to ask for it.
In a few minutes, the Federal Trade Commission, the FCC and attorneys general from 50 states and the District of Columbia will announce a $105 million deal with AT&T that settles allegations that the company has profited off the practice known as “bill-cramming,” third-party charges illegally placed on customers’ wireless bills without authorization. [More]
While the FCC has recently enacted rule changes that make it more difficult for predatory third-party businesses to cram unwanted and unauthorized charges on consumers’ landline phone bills, it is still in the process of considering what to do about bill-cramming for wireless customers. For what it’s worth, the folks at the Federal Trade Commission have chimed in with their suggestion: Wireless providers should be required to give customers the option to block all third-party charges from their bills.
While recent action by the FCC created rules intended to curb the practice of “cramming” unauthorized third-party charges on consumers’ landline phone bills, it did nothing to stop the same from happening for wireless customers. Today, Senator Jay Rockefeller IV introduced legislation that would end the practice and direct the FCC to create rules covering wireless customers.
Crammers are ripping off taxpayers across the country by getting fake charges put on the phone bills of government agencies.
While the folks in Washington, D.C., are proposing regulations to prevent bizarre, and often illegal, third-party charges from being buried on your phone bill, officials in a nearby Maryland county are actually investigating Verizon’s billing practices following complaints that the phone company has been charging customers for services they didn’t request.
Last month, FCC chair Julius Genachowski said the commission was preparing to take on the problem of landline bill cramming, the practice of placing mysterious third-party charges for everything from long-distance to yoga classes on your landline bill. Earlier today, the FCC announced more details of its proposed plan.
Eight months after the FCC settled with Verizon Wireless for $25 million over mystery charges on cell phone bills, the Commission’s Chairman Julius Genachowski says he’s ready to take on the bigger problem of so-called “cramming” on landline bills.
A new Craigslist scam is targeting your cellphone. Sellers report getting a message from a “serious buyer” who is busy “at work” and “can’t contact” them now. The fictional buyer says they “use a website that can save information” and asks the seller to “leave your phone number there” so they can call you after they “get home to arrange a meeting.” Based on one users’ experience, the site, which has already been pulled, then starts cramming $9.95/month monthly charges onto any cellphone number that gets entered. Here is one of the scam emails:
Inc21 supposedly sells web hosting and other Internet-related services, but the FTC says that in reality it contracted with offshore telemarketers who helped it cram charges onto unsuspecting customers’ phone bills, earning $19 million over the past five years. Customers who complained about the charges said they were either never contacted in the first place, were promised a free trial, were told that the telemarketer was just verifying business information, or explicitly refused Inc21’s offer and were charged anyway.