Watch for Sneaky Cell Phone Fees
(Memphis) “I’ve caught charges on my phone bill before that I shouldn’t have,” saidMemphis resident Lauralee Smith.
Smith is lucky, most consumers don’t catch those sneaky charges that show up on your cell phone bill.
Even Smith didn’t know there was a name for it, “I have not heard of that.”
It’s called cramming, unauthorized charges that appear on bills, often under categories like “service fee” or “subscription.”
It’s happened on landlines for years, but now more cell phone users are getting hit with the mystery fees.
Cramming charges can be as high as $19.99 a month, but as little as $1.99, so it’s easy to miss.
“If someone does sneak something in, I don’t even see it,” said Elle Perry who admits she doesn’t comb through her monthly statement thoroughly.
WREG On Your Side Investigators received a complaint from an AT&T customer who was charged $9.99 for something called a “horoscopegenie alert.”
It was a subscription they say they never asked for.
A spokesperson told us, “On AT&T bills, the associated service provider’s phone number is printed on the same page as the charge. AT&T works with customers who call us about their bill to satisfy concerns they may have, including adjusting any disputed charges from their bill.”
Cell phone cramming often comes in the form of text messages, from companies you don’t know.
You open it up, reply and get charged. You can step STOP, to quit, but that might not be enough.
The Federal Communications Commission recently implemented tougher rules to help prevent cramming on landlines but it doesn’t apply to cell phones.
To be safe, call your cell phone provider and ask to have 3rd party charges blocked.
If you get hit with fees, call the 3rd party and cell phone company to dispute it.
Lastly, don’t ignore your monthly bill.
“Now I just tend to go though it every month,” Smith says.
An FCC spokesperson says they will continue to review complaints about wireless cramming to see if changes need to be made.
You can call 1-888-CALL-FCC (1-888-225-5322) to make a cramming complaint, or click here for an online form.