Group of state AGs to FTC: Mobile cramming needs to stop

By Jessica M. Karmasek | Jun 25, 2013

WASHINGTON (Legal Newsline) -- The National Association of Attorneys General, in a letter and comments sent to the Federal Trade Commission Monday, said so-called "mobile cramming" needs to stop.

Mobile cramming -- the placement of unauthorized third-party charges on mobile phone bills -- is on the rise, the group of 40 attorneys general contend.

The attorneys general said they continue to receive complaints from consumers that charges, ranging from $9.95 to $24.95 a month, appear "out of the blue" on their phone bills without their authorization and for goods and services they didn't request or use.

Most people don't even know they've been "crammed." And when they do finally notice, they've already been paying the charges for several months, are unlikely to get a full refund, and often are unable to discontinue or block future charges.

In its letter and comments to FTC Secretary Donald S. Clark, NAAG said it is particularly concerned with:

- Unauthorized charges being placed on consumers' bills for unwanted and unused services;

- Inadequate disclosure of third-party charges on mobile phone bills;

- Inadequate mechanisms for consumers to effectively block third-party charges and obtain refunds; and

- The lack of state and federal statutory protections governing consumer disputes about fraudulent or unauthorized charges placed on mobile phone bills.

"The attorneys general agree that addressing these issues should be a priority among consumer regulators and the mobile telephone industry," the letter states.

In the meantime, the attorneys general said they will continue to investigate and take enforcement actions against those who bill unauthorized amounts.

The attorneys general of Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Delaware, District of Columbia, Florida, Guam, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Puerto Rico, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Tennessee, Utah, Vermont, Virgin Islands, Washington and Wyoming signed the letter and comments, which can be read here.

From Legal Newsline: Reach Jessica Karmasek by email at

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