University of Missouri Extension

Telephone Ripoffs

The new breed of telephone rip-offs, which is now the number 1 complaint, happens when charges for unwanted services (such as paging, voice mail, etc.) are "crammed" into your phone bill.

Because the fees are relatively small, ranging from $5 to $40, and have commonplace descriptions like "monthly fee" they are difficult for even careful bill payers to detect.

Crammers typically use sweepstake forms to trick customers into requesting phone services, others choose randomly from the phone book.

The Federal Communication Commission has worked with local telephone service providers to establish voluntary anticramming safeguards. Several states are planning to enact anticramming regulations.

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Last updated: March 09, 2005
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