Cell Phone Cramming is a Nationwide Epidemic According to Year-long Congressional Investigation


Strange fees and services crammed onto cell phone bills are a nationwide epidemic for U.S. consumers but remains a steady source of revenue for many of America’s biggest telecommunications companies.   A congressional investigative report recently issued by Sen. John Rockefeller accuses AT&T, Verizon and CenturyLink/Quest of earning approximately $650 million as their cut of cramming charges levied by third-party companies since 2006.  Cramming charges can include unwanted charges for voicemail, Web design services, ID theft monitoring, or other charges for fax or e-mail services.  Cramming typical begins when outside companies dupe unsuspecting consumers into revealing their cell phone number.  These third-party companies will then “cram” unwanted charges onto the consumer’s phone bill.  The Federal Communications Commission estimates that 15 to 20 million consumers are crammed every year.  These outside companies charge for these services even if the consumer did not want or never ordered them.  The charges are typically hidden in small amounts in the hopes that the consumer will pay for them for years without noticing that they are on the bill.  When consumers do notice the charges, getting refunds can be a nightmare.   More than 500,000 customers have contacted AT&T, CenturyLink/Qwest and Verizon to complain about cramming in the past five years.  Even if the customer is able to navigate through the intricate automated systems and actually speak with a live customer service representative, the telephone provider often refuses to issue the refunds, and instead refers the customer to the outside firms who are unresponsive.  The telecom firms collect billions, as they get a percentage of each payment for passing along the charge.  Rockefeller’s report states that cramming could cost U.S. consumers $2 billion annually and Congress has been unable to fix the problem.  Rockefeller says he hopes to introduce legislation that would make cramming explicitly illegal.  For now, it is important that consumers scan their phone bills every month for mysterious and unwanted charges.  The attorneys at Balkan & Patterson, LLP are experienced in class action litigation and will act to protect consumers against corporate wrongdoers. If you believe you have potential for a class action, please contact us immediately and we will review your case at no charge.

The law firm of Balkan & Patterson, LLP was founded in 2006 and is headquartered in Boca Raton, Florida, at 601 S. Federal Highway, Suite 302, with offices in Broward County. Mr. Balkan and Mr. Patterson can be contacted at (561) 750-9191. Additional information about Balkan & Patterson, LLP may be obtained from the firm’s website at www.balkanpatterson.com.

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