Cramming on Wireless Phone Bills: A Review of Consumer Protection Practices and Gaps

July 30, 2014

253 Russell Senate Office Building

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Senator John D. (Jay) Rockefeller, IV, Chairman of the U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, today announced a Full Committee hearing on Wednesday, July 30, 2014, at 2:45 p.m. titled, “Cramming on Wireless Phone Bills: A Review of Consumer Protection Practices and Gaps.”

Over two decades ago, phone companies began allowing third-party vendors to place charges on consumer phone bills for products unrelated to phone service such as photo storage. From the early days of this practice, industry representatives have promised to protect consumers against unauthorized third party charges. However, the Committee’s 2010-11 review of third-party billing on landline phones found that “cramming” – where fraudulent charges are placed on consumers’ phone bills – had been occurring for several decades and was estimated to have cost consumers billions of dollars. 

In light of increasing consumer use of mobile phones and emerging evidence of cramming in this context, Chairman Rockefeller in 2012 opened an inquiry to examine the scope of wireless cramming and industry practices to protect consumers against unauthorized charges on their wireless bills. The hearing will review findings of the Chairman’s wireless cramming inquiry and examine consumer protections as carrier billing technologies and practices continue to evolve.

Please note the hearing will be webcast live via the Senate Commerce Committee website. Refresh the Commerce Committee homepage 10 minutes prior to the scheduled start time to automatically begin streaming the webcast.

Individuals with disabilities who require an auxiliary aid or service, including closed captioning service for the webcast hearing, should contact Stephanie Gamache at 202-224-5511 at least three business days in advance of the hearing date.

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Webcast

Majority Statement

  • Chairman John D. Rockefeller IV

Minority Statement

  • Ranking Member John R. Thune

Witness Panel 1