FTC Forum in May 2011 Will Examine Ways to Protect Consumers From “Cramming” of Unauthorized Charges on Their Phone Bills, Project No. P104403 #00010 

Submission Number:
00010 
Commenter:
Mrs. Coffey
State:
North Carolina
Initiative Name:
FTC Forum in May 2011 Will Examine Ways to Protect Consumers From “Cramming” of Unauthorized Charges on Their Phone Bills, Project No. P104403

Hi, This is an issue that I am new to but would like to see resolved. I had never even heard of cramming until yesterdday. I recieved my cell phone bill and had a $9.99 charge to my bill for a text service. I contacted my service provider who told me it was through a third party vendor that must have sent me a text asking me to apply for their monthy service for a monthly charge. I told her that I never authorized anything like that at all and didn't even know what it could be for. There was no vendor name on my bill, nothing that would even tell me who this vendor was. I was told that they could not tell me the vendor's name that was charging me, only their phone number. So I "tried" to contact the vendor and only got an answering machine. I left them a message and of course, have not recieved a response. So I did a little research and found that this co. was supposed to send inspirational texts daily to my phone for a monthy fee. I looked through my past texts and found ONE (only one) text from their company and it was UNopened. I never even opened the text from this third party vendor, never authorized any charges and yet they are able to charge me through my cell phone bill. That makes no sense! All the text said was that if I did not want to recieve the daily messages and did not want to be billed, then to send STOP to a certain number to stop the charges. I never even opened it (until I got my bill with the chjarges from them) because I didn't recognize the number.Because I never opened it, I did not know to reply stop in order to stop charges I never even authorized. I just don't understand how a third party vendor can go through a cell phone company and charge me for a service that i never ordered. Why go through a phone service? When I signed up for my cell service, I thought I would only be billed for what I signed up for on my contract.Ten dollars a month may not seem like much to some but to this family, it's a HUGE amount. My husband's salary recently got cut back and we are a family of 12. Every dollar counts right now. I hope that something will be done about FCC allowing such things to happen every day. I contacted FCC because my cell provider said it was allowed by them. They told me to file a complaint through the federal trade commision and I plan to do that today. The thing is, no matter how much complaining I do, I still have to pay the $9.99 to this company and may never get that money back. I saw hundreds of complaints online about this same vendor and how how nobody could contact them. Everyone gets exactly what I got,an answering machine and never a response. My cell phone provider said they could block the third party vendors from my phone again but if they do, I won't be able to download ringtones through my provider unless I call them, release the block and then wait 48 hours! Why should my service have to be less than I paid for, just because of a third party vendor? Of course, I had to add the block to avooid more charges but that just makes things more difficult for me. I just hope that something good will come out of the meeting you have in May. I hope that FCC will do something to protect the rights of every day people, instead of protecting some third party company that only takes advantage of people every day. We should have protection from unauthorized charges from other companies.Please put a stop to cramming. Thanks for taking the time to read. Have a great day. PS The vendor name is Inspiracell and their contact number is .... . The number you have to text stop to and the number that shows up on the cell text is