July 13th, 2011
05:19 PM ET

Report: Cramming costs Americans $2 billion a year

Congress needs to pass legislation to protect customers from unauthorized third-party charges on their phone bills because the telephone industry has failed to prevent the practice, Sen. Jay Rockefeller says.

"It's illegal, it's wrong, it's scamming," said Rockefeller, D-West Virginia. "Why haven't you cleaned up your act?"

AT&T, Verizon and Qwest do not have a process to determine if the charges were authorized by their customers.

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Filed under: Congress • Telecom
soundoff (16 Responses)
  1. ben

    That's why I have Sprint, not to mention the fact that Sprint doesn't rake you over the coals for every little thing like AT&T does.

    July 13, 2011 at 5:31 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Narba

    Of all the cell companies i have had SPRINT has been the best. their bills are easy to read. now if the government could ease up on the total $8.00 taxes per cell that would really help

    July 13, 2011 at 6:03 pm | Report abuse |
  3. HRH banasy

    I've had Sprint for years....love them.

    July 13, 2011 at 6:06 pm | Report abuse |
    • LeRoy

      I have been with Sprint over ten years, but they don't care. I have been haggling with them since MAY 27th of this year and have gotten no where.

      July 20, 2011 at 3:42 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Trailer Trizzash

    Unfortunately not many people read the fine print. I never give these people my number, because I read at the very bottom and see the price glaring out through the text. It's still borderline criminal to do this to people.

    July 13, 2011 at 6:49 pm | Report abuse |
  5. ben

    Yep, haven't had any others, sprint's the best. You can't beat paying your bill a tad late and only being charged a dollar or so-not the 200+ deposit some companies charge to reinstate your contract.

    July 13, 2011 at 6:49 pm | Report abuse |
  6. ben

    I've heard from too many people about at&t trying to double bill and other made up charges, not just on cell phones but home phones as well.

    July 13, 2011 at 6:56 pm | Report abuse |
  7. jerk

    I also enjoy Sprint. The company... Not the type of short-distance running. Also, joggers give me the runs.

    July 13, 2011 at 6:56 pm | Report abuse |
  8. CSnSC

    Have only used at&t, just get unlimited data and text plan and the bill never changes. $160 mo for four phones. Hard to beat

    July 13, 2011 at 7:52 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Joey Isotta-Fraschini

    I have Sprint too, "everything" plan.
    It's wonderful.

    July 13, 2011 at 8:00 pm | Report abuse |
  10. The Informant

    Apparently none of you know what cramming is. Sprint will still charge you if you give a company your cell # to text you info (for a fee of course). This has nothing to do with what carrier you have (despite what this article says). They have these stupid surveys, horoscopes, weather updates, sports scores, even reminders for your favorite tv show sent to your phone through a text message. It always costs some insane amount per text/month. All you have to do is give them your number and they bill you. It's usually posted at the bottom in fine print. It's pretty outrageous to pay $9.99/mo for stuff you get for free anyways. Don't ever give out your number to anyone, including Facebook or Twitter. They may sell it or scam you this way.

    July 13, 2011 at 8:21 pm | Report abuse |
  11. CSnSC

    Thanks for the 'Info'

    July 13, 2011 at 8:55 pm | Report abuse |
  12. @Informant

    Nope, not my Sprint plan. It's the same, month after month after month. I have unlimited everything. Don't know why you're getting charged, but I'm not.

    July 13, 2011 at 9:23 pm | Report abuse |
    • The Informant

      @@informant: Go to any 3rd party that sends you "updates" via text messages. I'm not getting charged because I read the fine print. Can't think of any specific ones off the top off my head, but sometimes you will go onto a site for weather, dating, ringtones etc.. Free IQ test will have you take the test then they will ask to send you the results to your phone.. They charge you after you do that. Not all sites will charge you, but many do.

      July 13, 2011 at 10:51 pm | Report abuse |
  13. ben

    @informant: I've been to third party sites and have been texted by them on numerous occasions on the Sprint network, the only time I've ever been charged by Sprint was when I actually bought something from the company(screen saver, apps). I've known several people with AT&T though and heard horror stories about them.

    July 14, 2011 at 8:36 am | Report abuse |
  14. bill

    I just found a very cool cell phone jammer.

    google :- yapper zapper phone jammer

    July 14, 2011 at 8:31 pm | Report abuse |