June 25, 2013
Jefferson City, Mo. – Attorney General Chris Koster announced today he has joined 39 other attorneys general sending comments calling on the United States Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to seek solutions to the increasing problem of mobile "cramming," which is the placement of unauthorized third-party charges on mobile phone bills.
The Missouri Attorney General's Office continues to receive complaints from consumers about charges, usually around $9.95, that appear on their phone bills without their authorization. The charges are usually for goods and services that the consumers neither requested nor used. Many consumers fail to detect that they have been crammed. When they do discover the charges on their bills, sometimes after several months, consumers are rarely able to obtain a full refund.
"Today's cell phone bills include pages and pages of numbers, and it can be difficult to detect illegitimate charges," Koster said. "While I urge consumers to check their phone bills carefully, we need better protections for consumers to prevent cramming from occurring, and to give them mechanisms for obtaining full refunds if they unfairly charged."
Koster's office announced a settlement yesterday with three third-party businesses that had placed charges for unwanted services on Missouri consumers' phone bills. The businesses repaid consumers more than $296,000. The businesses are permanently barred from placing any future charges on consumers' phone bills.
Koster encourages consumers to check their phone bills monthly, and to contact his consumer hotline at 800-392-8222 if they detect unauthorized charges.