Feature Article

April 09, 2012

Wireless Customers' Awareness of Carrier 'Cramming' on the Rise

Have you been “crammed” by your cell phone company? If you’re like most Americans, chances are...you have. “Cramming” refers to the practice of adding fees for unwanted or unasked-for services – such as celebrity gossip text messages – without the customer’s consent. Often, these unasked for services run in the $8 to $9 range.

The New York Times is reporting on the practice today, revealing that more and more people are becoming aware of the practice...and the anger against the wireless industry is rising. The practice isn’t new, but it is generating some more headlines.

Part of the wireless’ industries “defense” is how readily they refund the fees when asked.

“[Refunding] the charges, which turns out to be standard operating procedure, and may go a long way toward explaining why the outrage about cell phone cramming has not yet exploded like cartoon dynamite,” writes the Times.

The practice makes a lot of wireless customers angry: for good reason.

“In a sense, carriers have checked a box marked ‘by all means, add fees for useless services to this bill!’ on behalf of cell phone owners nationwide,” writes the Times. “Why not make us opt in, instead of forcing us to opt out, especially because so many people have no idea that they are being charged in the first place?”

Why not, indeed. The answer – as usual – is money. The carriers make a lot of extra revenue from taking a cut of these third-party services, and they know that many people don’t scrutinize their wireless bills carefully.

Time to start doing so.

Edited by Jennifer Russell

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