OPINION: Consumers Must Beware Of “Cramming”

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Often times, consumers pay their phone bill without carefully scrutinizing its details, assuming that it only contains those charges that are authorized. Phone “cramming”, however, has become pervasive of late, affecting the phone bills of households young and old across New Jersey. Phone cramming involves unauthorized charges placed on a bill by third party companies.

In many of these instances, these consumers are unwittingly paying for services they may have never requested or never used. Ultimately, this leads to month-to-month bills that are higher than they should be, something even more distressing in the current economic climate. Cramming can cost consumers up to $2 billion a year, simply because of these unnecessary and unauthorized charges.

In order to avoid cramming from hitting your pocketbook, check your phone bill carefully for any charges you don’t recognize. If you suspect you are a victim of cramming, AARP encourages you to call your phone company and have these charges investigated and removed. If it seems you are having trouble receiving help on this issue, inform the Federal Trade Commission at www.ftc.gov or 1-877-FTC-HELP. You should as well send your story to your local legislator and urge them to put a stop to phone cramming.

Lauren Indyk
AARP Volunteer

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