Skip Navigation

Federal Communications Commission

English Display Options

Commission Document

"Cramming" - Unauthorized Charges on Your Phone Bill

Download Options

Released: June 20, 2011


"CRAMMING"

The practice of placing charges on your telephone bill

for unauthorized products or services

CAses by Type Of phONe seRvICe:

Wireline

Wireless

82%
16%
2% Other (e.g., VOIP)

Cramming is one of the most common landline billing complaints

handled by the FCC, after the general category of billing adjustments
and refunds.1

CONsUMeR AWAReNess:

Only one out of 20 victims of cramming may be aware of cramming charges.2

WhAT DO CONsUMeRs


eXpeRIeNCe?
15 TO 20 MILLION
$19.99

Number of American households estimated

to receive crammed charges on their wireline
bills each year.3
$1.99

Range of cramming charges from a single

0.1%
vendor per month.4 These charges can go
undetected indefinitely.

UsAGe RATe

One FCC investigation found only 20 of 17,384

Charges sometimes appear as "service

consumers used the third-party service they
fee," "service charge," "other fees,"
were billed for. Another found that just 22 of
"voicemail," "mail server," "calling plan"
18,571 consumers charged for dial-around
or "membership," and may be cramming if
long distance actually used the service. Usage
they were unauthorized or if the cost was
in both cases: roughly 0.1 percent.
misrepresented.
1. FCC complaint data 2008-2010
2. Expert Marylander survey conducted for Federal Trade Commission case
3. FCC projection based on Expert Marylander survey and California data
4. FCC Enforcement Bureau

Note: We are currently transitioning our documents into web compatible formats for easier reading. We have done our best to supply this content to you in a presentable form, but there may be some formatting issues while we improve the technology. The original version of the document is available as a PDF, Word Document, or as plain text.

close
FCC

You are leaving the FCC website

You are about to leave the FCC website and visit a third-party, non-governmental website that the FCC does not maintain or control. The FCC does not endorse any product or service, and is not responsible for, nor can it guarantee the validity or timeliness of the content on the page you are about to visit. Additionally, the privacy policies of this third-party page may differ from those of the FCC.