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What is "Cramming?"
When your phone bill is stuffed with unexplained charges for services that were never authorized, received or used, you may have been crammed.
How Does Cramming Occur?
Cramming can occur through many deceptive practices. Tactics include:
- 800 Number Calls : By calling an advertised free date line, psychic line or adult entertainment service a recording prompts you to give your name and say you want the service. Although you never speak to a person you are automatically enrolled and your phone number is captured and billed.
- International Calls : Some adult entertainment services tell you to call a number beginning with an unfamiliar area code. However these are codes for placing international calls, and the entertainment provider is making money every minute you stay on the line.
- "Free Minute" Deals : These ads promise "free time" to sample a service but when you call, you are placed on hold and that time is deducted from your free minutes.
What Should I Do if I Have Been Crammed?
If you believe you are a victim of cramming there are a few steps you should take:
- Contact your phone company whose toll-free number is listed on your phone bill and tell them to shut off third-party billing
- Save your paperwork and ask to be credited for the charges
- Contact the billing company and dispute the charges
- Consider contacting your state Attorney General's office, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), or the Federal Communications Commission (FCC)
Federal & State Protections Against Cramming
The FTC and FCC have taken a strong stance against cramming by initiating legal actions and imposing fines. The federal agencies are also working closely with state Attorney Generals to protect consumers.
Do I Need a Lawyer for My Cramming Problem?
If you feel that you have been crammed, you may contact the FTC, FCC, or your state Attorney General's office. Filing a complaint with a regulatory agency may provide inadequate relief. If you or your business suffered a significant financial loss, a consumer protection lawyer can assist you with the federal and state laws involved and can explain all of your legal options.
Consult a Lawyer - Present Your Case Now!
Last Modified: 01-23-2013 02:50 PM PST
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