FTC Forum in May 2011 Will Examine Ways to Protect Consumers From “Cramming” of Unauthorized Charges on Their Phone Bills, Project No. P104403
It has always amazed me that a company can put something on my phone bill without my explicit agreement. Although inconvenient, a worthwhile solution would be to require a written agreement. Protections should be in place to prevent companies from fooling people. Any agreement should be clear that billing will occur. In the case of charges to a mobile phone account a call from any telephone to a mobile provider should be enough to discontinue recurring charges. My son lost his cell phone. It was very difficult to get Verizon Wireless to discontinue the 'service'. They were extremely unwilling to stop the charges. They kept telling us to text the company to stop. But we didn't have the phone to text from. Account holders should be the only ones to authorize recurring charges. Especially not minor children. All charges to a phone account should be identifiable. Another issue with Verizon was that they kept saying they did not know what company was making charges to our mobile account. Nor did they have contact information. Only allow services related to phone or mobile phone to be charged to a phone bill. It makes no sense that a book, for example, be charged to my phone bill. Summary: Require explicit proof that service was authorized by account holder. Do not allow authorization by minors who have a phone on the account. Require that recurring services can be terminated by a phone call from any other phone, not a specific mobile phone. Require provider to be able to provide customer with name and contact information for anyone placing charges on a phone bill. Only allow phone related charges on a phone bill.