State asks FCC to ban cramming

Minnesota Attorney General Lori Swanson has asked the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to ban third-party billing on telephone bills, a practice called cramming that's plagued by fraudulent activity, Swanson said on Monday.

A Senate Commerce Committee report this year found that phone companies place about 300 million third-party charges, totaling $2 billion, on customers' bills yearly. An FCC report said that of 17,384 consumers surveyed, only 20 actually used the third-party service for which they were billed.

The charges often show up as generic "fees" or "charges."

Swanson, who has sued cramming companies, said phone companies make money from the bogus charges but tell customers to contact the crammer to resolve the problem.

Star Tribune
Article Publish Date: 
October 25, 2011