Keep an eye out for unauthorized charges on your phone bill
Friday, July 31, 2009
Our office has received complaints from North Carolina consumers about “cramming”, which happens when unauthorized charges show up on your phone bill. These charges may appear even if you were never contacted by the company that’s charging you. Or you might get tricked into signing up for a service by a telemarketer. There are different forms of cramming, and it can include either a one-time charge or recurring monthly membership fees.
To catch unauthorized charges, read your phone bill carefully every month like you would your credit card or bank statement. If you see charges you don’t recognize, ask your local telephone company to remove them. Generally, your local phone service cannot be disconnected if you fail to pay a charge from a company that is not your local phone service. Also, contact the company responsible for the charge at the toll-free number listed on the phone bill and ask them to remove the charge. Finally, check your credit card statements. The unauthorized charges may be billed there as well.
To protect yourself from cramming, be cautious when talking to telemarketers. Be wary of “free” offers, prizes and contests, especially on the Internet. Often, this is a sneaky way of tricking you into authorizing a service that will be billed to your phone.
If you need help with an unauthorized charge on your phone bill, please contact Attorney General Roy Cooper’s Consumer Protection Division for assistance at 1-877-5-NO-SCAM or file a complaint online at www.ncdoj.gov.