Print 13 comment(s) - last by Flunk.. on Jul 31 at 9:58 AM

Check your landline bill, you may be getting "crammed"
Most people billed don't even get the services charged for

In years past, just about everyone had a home phone or landline. Today it is becoming more and more common for people to only have a mobile phone and no landline in their home. Those that do have a landline in their home need to keep an eye on their bill as a new report has surfaced that Americans are being charged for a huge amount of unauthorized services each month.

A study that lasted for a year was published by the Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee and found that Americans were charged about $2 billion in so-called mystery fees in a single year which is called “cramming”. The charges show up on the often confusing bills for landline phone services and typically the customer billed never receives the services charged for. A hearing was held in Washington to ask major telecom companies what the charges are about.

Senator Jay Rockefeller, a Democrat from West Virginia, asked an industry rep why major telecom firms like AT&T hadn’t stopped the unauthorized charges on phone bills by third parties. Rockefeller said, "It's illegal, it's wrong, it's scamming. Why haven't you cleaned up your act?"

The industry representative the question was posed to is Walter McCormick, president and CEO of the U.S. Telecom Association. McCormick said, "The industry has taken significant steps. Even the report that you issued today indicates that there has been improvement, but it remains a very, very significant, very pervasive problem."

The report also points out that the phone companies receive a fee of a few dollars from the third-party billers and these fees can add up to a significant amount over time with the number of customers the phone companies have. AT&T, Verizon, and Qwest made about $650 million over the last five years from these fees alone.

Washington is also being joined by a number of states in the fight against these unauthorized charges. 

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One more thing......
By brshoemak on 7/14/2011 3:08:53 PM , Rating: 2
I'll add that to the list of reasons not to have a landline unless you absolutely need one.

Nothing like a $9 landline with $25 of various fees and taxes, and now 3rd party charges on top of that.

RE: One more thing......
By Belegost on 7/14/2011 9:36:30 PM , Rating: 2
Land lines... I think my mom has one of those, it sits in the kitchen next to the buggy whip.

RE: One more thing......
By Uncle on 7/16/2011 4:12:53 AM , Rating: 5
Oh so you think your getting a good deal with your cell phone. Over priced phones worth pennies, contracts. Cell phone costs go back to the buggy whip era all over again.I pay 1.5 cents for long distance on my landline Cell phone, anywhere out of country I get nailed for roaming and 40cent a minute out of my area. If I sign a contract and pay an exorbitant amount a month, to make me feel good the word FREE or unlimited gets used alot. Free texting, unlimited phone calls, pick your area. Please don't try to convince your self that your not being ripped off, because you are and you know it,way more then a land line.

RE: One more thing......
By Flunk on 7/31/2011 9:58:34 AM , Rating: 2
No buggy driver, he's talking about VOIP. VOIP costs hardly anything and you can set it up to use all your your old phones.

Cell phone costs in most countries are reasonable and competitive if not cheaper than landlines but in the USA you are correct about being cheated with ridiculous prices and contracts.

RE: One more thing......
By mindless1 on 7/16/2011 4:16:35 PM , Rating: 1
She's keeping the buggy whip in her nightstand drawer these days.

RE: One more thing......
By mindless1 on 7/16/2011 4:13:46 PM , Rating: 2
I feel the same way about pants, why have any unless you absolutely need them?

You end up putting them on just to take them off again in a few hours, over and over and over in a vicious cycle.

By tng on 7/14/2011 3:59:25 PM , Rating: 2
AT&T, Verizon, and Qwest made about $650 million over the last five years from these fees alone.
Most places don't call this a fee, I think the correct term is Payola. Hmmmmm.... maybe it should be Kickback..... Oh, oh, I got it, Protection Money.....

Whatever it should be called it is not a Fee.

RE: Fees?
By mindless1 on 7/16/2011 4:10:10 PM , Rating: 2
But it IS a fee. Whether the charges are legit or not, the telco charges this fee to the supposed "service provider" as the collection agent.

A few years back we had one of these fraudulent charges show up on the bill and from what I gathered at the time, the phone company doesn't do much if anything to keep this from happening (though I could be wrong and it happens a lot but a small % still slip through the cracks) but will not resist a request to have the charges removed.

Sooooo sorry!
By BugblatterIII on 7/14/2011 3:40:22 PM , Rating: 2
We're making hundreds of millions from this; we're doing our best to stop, honest!


Here in the UK Virgin Media has charged me for services I never asked for. They're the only utility I don't have automatic payments set up for; I don't trust them.

I recall a time...
By overlandpark4me on 7/17/2011 12:09:41 PM , Rating: 2
when my mom was charged extra because she did NOT have a long distance carrier. I don't know if this still happens, but it is another scam from these losers. it's not like they are providing good service for all of these charges either. Call centers with canned scrips, operators with names like Todd with a thick Indian accent give me a nice chuckle when I'm connected to tech support. BTW, how come these guys always say, "thank you so much" every time I answer a question?

By rangrangang on 7/14/11, Rating: -1
RE: dffzxc
By cpeter38 on 7/15/2011 8:16:50 AM , Rating: 4
PLEASE make this spammer go away!!!

RE: dffzxc
By xiaoxiaoqi on 7/17/11, Rating: 0
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