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Have You Ever Been Crammed?

Do you even know what it is?

Last month the state of Illinois officially banned “cramming.” It’s a pity more states don’t follow suit.

“Cramming" is when a third party adds bogus charges to your telephone, landline or cell phone, for services you don’t want and didn’t order. If you have never been “crammed,” you’re lucky. It is reportedly a $2 billion a year bogus industry, according to Chicago’s www.wbez.org. The charges can range from such things as charges for “special voicemail” and “identity theft insurance.”

I happen to know from personal experience it can also be from games that you didn’t even know you had downloaded to your cell phone. My husband incurred six charges, over two months, at $9.99 each for games he supposedly downloaded to his cell phone. When I questioned the charges, the cell phone company asked whether I was “sure he didn’t download them.” Yes, I’m sure. My husband is, shall we politely say, more than a little critical of those who “waste their time with stupid games” - many of them his own direct descendants.

Three months later, and a couple of threats to change companies, we finally had the charges removed, but it isn’t always easy to do. We'd had a block put on a couple of years before and it had somehow been lifted. Without that, having the almost $60 worth of charges removed might have been pretty much impossible.

Illinois and Vermont are two states that have outlawed cramming, but so far it only applies to landlines. Illinois is reportedly thinking of extending it to cell phones as well. I'm not sure why it didn't do that in the first place.

Have you ever been crammed? Do you think that more states, including Georgia, should ban this practice?

Cassie Brown August 20, 2012 at 01:03 PM
Yes, I have had charges added to my AT&T landline before. I think last time it was long distance company that was added without my request and even though it's supposedly on our record not to change anything unless we call them to change it. I have not encountered any problems getting them removed. Just annoying that you have to scrutinize your bill every month.
John B August 20, 2012 at 02:22 PM
And there is nothing in it for the major carriers to help you purge those charges because as I understand it, the carriers get a cut of the third party profit.
Sharon Swanepoel August 20, 2012 at 04:51 PM
I definitely had difficulty getting the charges removed from my husband's cell phone. We had to wait 3 months while they asked the company who put them on to remove them. Eventually, when we did say that we would look elsewhere for service because we had requested a block, had it on for more than a year and then it was removed without any instruction to do so, did they agree to drop the charges from the bill. In the cell phone, it just came through as a text and by clicking on the text, it downloaded it and charged you. After the first four, my husband wouldn't click on any text anyone sent him because he didn't know what it was.

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