Wednesday, August 03, 2011

FCC focuses on "cramming" crackdown

Opening the cell phone bill can be an ugly and dark experience. Over the years, these invoices have gained notoriety for being complex and cryptic. Many cell phone users have reluctantly paid invoices that contained services and fees without understanding all the charges. That could change soon. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is proposing new rules to crack down on a loathsome scam known as "cramming."

Cramming refers those long, hard-to-understand bills that wireless and phone companies send. According to an editorial this week in the Chicago Sun-Times:

As many as 20 million people are “crammed” each year by third-party companies, some of which do nothing but cram, but only about one in 20 customers realizes it, according to the FCC. The bogus charges can be for anything from psychic hotlines to diet programs, often misleadingly labeled as a “service fee.”

The Senate Commerce Committee estimates Americans pay about $2 billion in mystery fees every year. Phone companies have little incentive to stop the charges because they get a cut of the revenues.

The FCC wants to increase phone bill transparency and disclosure, which will apply to mobile as well as landline phone bills.

Read for more.

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