RIP-OFF ALERT: Cramming on phone bills has made a comeback, resulting in an epidemic where an estimated 20 million Americans are paying for fake charges on their monthly bill.
For those who unfamiliar with the term, cramming is a situation where phone companies enter into deals with marketing companies that sell you fake “services,” usually listed on the unregulated charges page of your monthly bill.
The Federal Communications Commission reports that 19 out of 20 people don’t notice these charges and pay them every month. The typical person gets hit for what’s usually in the hundreds of dollars a year, billed month by month, according to The Los Angeles Times.
Phone companies have taken a hardline that if you suddenly notice these charges, they will only credit you for the last 60 days. The rest of the ill gotten gain from anything beyond two months they keep for themselves. That’s just standard industry practice.
What’s the solution? Go through your bills month by month, page by page, and know what’s there. If you see a charge you don’t recognize on the unregulated charges page, call up your phone company to question it and ask for a credit. And tell them to stop ripping you off in the future by having the charge permanently removed going forward!
Editor’s note: This segment originally aired July 2011.