FCC to Crack Down on Mystery Phone Bill Fees

Agency proposes rules to outlaw 'cramming'
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jul 12, 2011 4:37 PM CDT
FCC to Crack Down on Mystery Phone Bill Fees
The fees in question can be easy to overlook, sometimes just a few dollars.   (Shutterstock)

Federal regulators are proposing new rules to make it easier for consumers to detect and challenge mystery fees on their phone bills. The Federal Communications Commission voted today to seek public comments on the proposed rules, which are intended to crack down on the practice of "cramming." That refers to the illegal placement of unauthorized fees on a consumer's phone bill—either by the phone company or an outside party.

These fraudulent charges are usually buried inside phone bills and generally appear under generic descriptions such as minute use fee, activation, member fee, voice mail, or Web hosting. Often just a few dollars, they can be easy to overlook. The FCC has more details here, including a link to file an official comment. (Read more FCC stories.)

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