Cramming Charges

Watch Out for 'Cramming' Charges

'Cramming' charges are unexpected, unauthorized, fraudulent, or inaccurate charges placed on telephone, cellphone, cable, satellite, and sometimes hotel bills.

On land lines, unauthorized charges range from $1.99 to $19.99 a month. They may have vague wording such as "voicemail", "service charge" or "other fees".

Charges on cellphone bills often appear as downloads for services that were never actually downloaded. The average charge is $5.00. It has become very easy for third parties to bill you and collect from you via your telephone. Be careful to whom you give your cellphone number.

Hotels have started following the airlines by adding fees such as "resort fees" and "internet fees" to your final bill at checkout even if you have not used the services.

Cable and satellite providers are adding charges of $10 or more for premium services and pay per view at the end of promotional periods unless you have cancelled the service in writing.

Contact your provider if suspect you have been overcharged. If the provider does not remove the extra charges, file a complaint with the Federal Communications Commission at www.fcc.gov/complaints.

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