Unauthorized Charges On My Phone Bill, Have I Been Crammed? | Attorney General - State of Colorado

Unauthorized Charges On My Phone Bill, Have I Been Crammed?

Phone Bill

Have you ever received and unauthorized charge on your telephone bill? 

Does it involve services like ringtones, messages containing trivia, or horoscopes?  If so, you may have been crammed.  Cramming is the practice of placing unauthorized, misleading, or deceptive charges on your traditional telephone bill.  Crammers rely on confusing telephone bills and vague or confusing wording in an attempt to trick consumers into paying for these unwanted services.  

According to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), if a local telephone company, long distance company, or another type of service provider either accidentally or intentionally places unauthorized, misleading, or deceptive charges on your bill, you may have been "crammed". Cramming comes in many forms and is often hard to detect unless you closely review your telephone bill.

If unauthorized, these charges could constitute cramming:

  • Charges for services that are explained on a customer's telephone bill in general terms - such as "service fee", "service charge", "other fees", "voicemail", "mail server", "calling plan", "psychic", and "membership".
  • Charges that are added to a consumer’s telephone bill every month - with a clear explanation of the services provided – such as a “monthly fee” or “minimum monthly usage fee."
  • Other charges that may be deemed cramming originate from a local or long distance companies, smartphone applications, and from unsolicited text messages.  
  • While cramming charges typically appear on consumers’ home or mobile telephone bills, they may also be included with bills issued by long distance telephone companies and companies providing other types of services, including cellular telephone, digital telephone beeper and pager services.

​If you believe you have been a victim of cramming or wish to report fraud, please file a report here.  


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Fraudulent charges on your phone bill?  File a complaint here