How to stop cramming charges on your cellphone bill

August 30, 2012 11:09:55 PM PDT
7 On Your Side found some unexpected charges on people's cellphone bills and can tell you how to stop them.

It is called cramming -- the practice of putting third party charges on a phone bill that the customer never requested.

Attorney Al Anolik's cellphone bill has all the usual charges plus a group of new charges.

"I see five different charges for $9.99 each; I don't recognize them, I didn't order anything, I don't know what they are," Anolik said.

Bills loaded up with non-phone company charges are becoming a common complaint.

Sports scores, daily horoscope those types of services. Consumers are told they ordered the service, consumers say they didn't.

"They could, when somebody who says they have my signature and they don't, they could send me an announcement that says this company wished to charge you $9.99 a month, do you approve it? Did you order it? How hard is that to do," Anolik said.

"Wireless carriers have a powerful financial incentive to prolong the problem; they actually get about a third of the ill gotten revenue that these cramming schemers actually derive when they cram," Consumer Action spokesperson Joe Ridout said.

Ridout says call your phone company to have the charges dropped.

"Some of these third party billers will invite consumers to reply with 'stop' if they want to stop the service," Ridout said. "The risk is some dishonest companies will use that 'stop' as an indication that it is a live number and will invite greater spam traffic and more bogus charges in the future."

Here's what you are not being told: you do not have to put up with any of this. Call your carrier and tell them to block all third party calls. It takes about two minutes and then you never have to deal with this again.


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