FTC Forum in May 2011 Will Examine Ways to Protect Consumers From “Cramming” of Unauthorized Charges on Their Phone Bills, Project No. P104403
The way to prevent these types of events from occurring is simple. Disallow all 3rd party billing activity on any phone account. The ONLY charges allowed should be from the phone carrier and any chosen long distance carrier or other charges directly related to the placement or making of phone calls. While some may attempt to limit billing only by removing monthly or any type of recurring charges, this would only drive these types of business to hit more often with single, smaller charges, which will be much easier to hide than recurring charges. In fact, this type of operation has already occurred with many of these companies registering multiple identities and these multiple identities take turns at hitting various customers phone accounts. Simply disallowing all of this slams the door in their face without any potential to let them back in. I would argue that a person's phone bill is not the appropriate place for any of these other charges in the first place. A host of other methods of payment are available including but not limited to: credit cards, debit cards, personal check, online bill paying through your bank, setting up a recurring payment online through your bank, money order, bank or cashier's check, western union, paypal, billmetlater, etc. If a phone bill is able to take on these extra charges then, in reality, it is no longer just a "phone bill", is it.