Rockefeller Continues Push to Protect Consumers from "Mystery Fees" on Phone Bills

June 16, 2011

Chairman Rockefeller asks Sec. Locke questions about strengthening manufacturing in America.WASHINGTON, D.C.—Chairman John D. (Jay) Rockefeller IV released the following statement today regarding the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) announcement proposing $11.7 million in penalties against companies involved in “cramming.” 

“I’m pleased to hear that the FCC is making progress in the fight against mystery fees on phone bills,” Rockefeller said. “However, I don’t believe it will be enough to stop the problem. For the past year, my Committee has examined cramming and third-party billing on telephone bills. What we’ve found is troubling. We know that the telephone companies’ voluntary guidelines have failed to stop mystery fees. We know that additional disclosure requirements on telephone bills haven’t fixed the problem. As I announced last month, the Committee will hold a hearing and release a report on this issue shortly so that we can work to end this problem once and for all.” 

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 included 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. 

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