July 30, 2014

Consumers Union: Senate Hearing on Cramming Highlights Need for Wireless Protection

Consumer Group Sends Letter to Committee Highlighting Victims of Cramming

WASHINGTON, DC – The Senate Commerce Committee today unveiled the results of its investigation into wireless cramming in advance of an afternoon hearing on consumer cramming protections. The investigation found that consumers have paid for hundreds of millions of unauthorized charges on their wireless bills, a practice referred to as ‘cramming’. The Committee report also highlighted the fact that the major mobile carriers have profited greatly from the cramming industry, retaining up to 40 percent of each unauthorized charge.

Consumers Union, the policy and advocacy division of Consumer Reports, commended Chairman Rockefeller for investigating this important issue that can take a serious hit on consumer pocketbooks. The consumer group has long called to extend cramming protections to wireless and VoIP users.

Delara Derakhshani, policy counsel for Consumers Union, said, “Cramming isn’t a new scheme, but it has quickly infiltrated newer technologies. Supposed safeguards and voluntary agreements don’t seem to be enough to combat this growing problem.  The Committee’s report, as well as the FTC’s recent report and action against T-Mobile, underscores the need for new consumer protections. As more consumers cut the landline cord and rely solely on wireless phones, it’s critical that policymakers extend the third-party billing protections in place for landline users to wireless and VoIP customers.”

Consumers Union sent a letter to the Commerce Committee today on the importance of finding a solution to cramming, highlighting the stories of consumers who have been victims of unauthorized charges. To read the letter, please click here or visit ConsumersUnion.org.

The Commerce Committee hearing is scheduled for 2:45. For more information, visit www.Commerce.Senate.gov.

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