WASHINGTON, D.C.—Chairman John D. (Jay) Rockefeller IV issued the following statement today after AT&T announced it would soon stop placing misleading third-party charges on its customers’ landline telephone bills. Verizon made a similar announcement last week.
“AT&T made the right decision to end cramming by August. Our Committee investigation revealed that telephone customers across the country have for years been paying for third-party services they didn’t want, use or often need. Something had to be done. And while the decisions of AT&T and Verizon are a step in the right direction, I still believe we need to pass a bill that bans this abusive practice once and for all.”
Last year, the Commerce Committee completed a year-long investigation into unwanted third-party charges on landline telephones, also known as “cramming,” which showed that third-party billing through landline telephone bills was a $2 billion a year industry. The report showed that, during the last 5 years, phone companies billed more than $10 billion in third-party charges and that a large percentage of these charges appeared to be wholly unauthorized and a result of cramming. The investigation demonstrated that third-party billing has largely failed as a payment method and its failure has cost everyday Americans, small businesses, charities, and local governments billions of dollars in bogus charges on their telephone bills. More details about the Commerce Committee’s cramming investigation can be found here.