Rockefeller Tells FTC That Bogus Billing on Consumer Landline Phones is a Major Problem

May 11, 2011

Feature Image: 2 Oversight&InvestigationsWASHINGTON, D.C.—Chairman John D. (Jay) Rockefeller IV wrote Federal Trade Commission (FTC) Chairman Jon Leibowitz that unauthorized third-party charges on telephone bills remain a major problem for American consumers and businesses and that further action is needed to put an end to it.

In a detailed letter, Rockefeller said that the telephone companies have been too willing to place third-party charges on their customers’ bills, without first determining whether the charges have been authorized by their customers.

“For way too long, cramming has cost consumers and businesses both time and money. Shady third-party vendors sneak these costs onto the landline phone bills of unsuspecting Americans, and the result is they have to pay month after month of bogus third-party charges,” Rockefeller said. ”It is time we put an end to this dishonest practice.”

Cramming involves placing unauthorized third-party charges on consumers’ telephone bills. Chairman Rockefeller started investigating cramming a year ago because thousands of consumers and businesses complained that their telephone bills continue to include millions of dollars in “mystery charges”. Cramming appears to be a pervasive problem on landline telephone bills and has been for many years, despite efforts to crack down on it 10 years ago. Chairman Rockefeller also applauded the FTC’s decision to hold a forum on cramming. The Commerce Committee staff attorney leading its cramming investigation will speak at that forum.

More information on the FTC’s cramming forum can be found here.

Additional information about the Commerce Committee’s investigation can be found here.