The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) announced this week that it had provided comment to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) about the “cramming” of unauthorized charges on wireless telephone bills. According to its press release, the FTC told the communications regulator that “cramming” poses a serious problem.
The FTC's comment noted that both the FTC and the FCC have received and reviewed thousands of complaints about unauthorized third-party charges on wireless bills. In fact, the FTC claimed in its comment to have launched at least 24 investigations involving wireless cramming. Those are in addition to a number of state AG investigations of wireless cramming, some of which have resulted in multi-million dollar settlements. Despite this application of state and federal enforcement muscle, the FTC stated in its comment that the problem is only likely to grow.
The comment also noted that there are a number of legitimate uses of third-party charges on wireless bills, such as serving as a conduit for text message-based charitable fund raising. Although the comment stopped short of calling for a full ban or default blocking of third-party charges, the FTC does believe that wireless providers should be required, at a minimum, to give customers the option to block all third-party charges from their bills.
Click here to read the FTC’s press release and comment to the FCC.