U.S. Sen. Rockefeller releases mobile phone billing report - WBOY - Clarksburg, Morgantown: News, Sports, Weather

U.S. Sen. Rockefeller releases mobile phone billing report

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U.S. Sen. Jay Rockefeller, D-W.Va., and chairman of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, released a majority staff report on the findings of the Committee’s investigation into wireless cramming – where consumers get charged on their phone bills for goods and services they never agreed to purchase.

The new report titled, “Cramming on Mobile Phone Bills: A Report on Wireless Billing Practices,” describes a billion dollar industry that has cost consumers hundreds of millions of dollars in unauthorized charges on their wireless bill while at the same time yielding tremendous revenues for the major wireless carriers. Cramming became a problem several decades ago when phone companies opened their billing platforms to allow third-party vendors to charge consumers for goods and services unrelated to their phone service such as photo storage, voicemail, and faxes.

Rockefeller said major phone companies have assured Congress and the public they are protecting their customers from billing fraud.

“Industry representatives told us that their voluntary policies and practices provide consumers – and I quote – a ‘robust process designed to protect customers from unscrupulous actors,’ and that cramming on wireless phones has been ‘de minimis,’” Rockefeller said. “But this report makes it clear that is not the case. Cramming on wireless phones has been widespread and has caused consumers substantial harm.”

Rockefeller launched the Committee’s inquiry into wireless cramming after the Committee’s 2010-2011landline cramming investigation found that widespread cramming had occurred on consumers’ landline phone bills and could have cost consumers billions. Since then, despite public assurances from industry that its self-regulatory system is effective at protecting consumers from unauthorized third-party charges on their phone bill, cramming on wireless phone bills has continued.

The report was released ahead of today’s Full Committee Hearing titled, “Cramming on Wireless Phone Bills: A Review of Consumer Protection Practices and Gaps.”

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