University of Missouri Extension

Read & Understand Phone Bills

The Federal Communications Commission has adopted guidelines which will make it easier for consumers to read and understand their phone bills. The illegal principles of "slamming" and "cramming" are also addressed. These are the 1st and 2nd most common complaints filed with the FCC.

Slamming is when a consumer’s carrier of choice is changed without authorization. Now, consumers can detect if this happens because new service providers must be highlighted on the bill.

Cramming occurs when unauthorized, misleading or deceptive charges are placed on a consumer’s bill. Vague or inaccurate descriptions make it difficult for consumers to know exactly what they are paying for and whether or not they received that service.

Under the new requirements, bills must contain full and non-misleading descriptions and identification of the service provider responsible for each charge.

Source: FCC adopts truth in billing. (1999, August). Consumer and Family Economics Specialist In Touch Newsletter, 2-3.

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Last updated: March 09, 2005
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