Schumer calls on FCC to ban cellphone 'cramming'

"The FCC has taken the lead by proposing rules that would help to prevent the problem of cramming," Schumer wrote in a letter to FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski. "However, I would ask that you expand your rulemaking to encompass a mandatory ban on these charges unless a consumer specifically opts in.

"If companies do not make these changes voluntarily, the FCC should look towards imposing this as a rule on wireless companies."

ADVERTISEMENT
Verizon and AT&T have banned such practices on landline services but not cellphones. In a separate letter to CITA, the wireless phone trade association, Schumer asked carriers to voluntarily block third party cramming charges until the FCC puts in place mandatory restrictions.

"If companies do not make these changes voluntarily, I have requested the FCC to study imposing such a rule on wireless companies," he said. "I ask that you work with my staff and the FCC to ensure that there is transparency on your customers' bills."

Chairman John Rockefeller (D-W.Va.) has approached the issue of cramming in his Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee, but no laws have been passed yet.

"Cellphone cramming is merely scamming by another name — it steals money from cellphone users and the FCC and carriers must take prompt action to snuff it out," Schumer said Tuesday. "The simple truth is that no one should be able to put a charge on your cellphone bill unless you have given explicit, affirmative consent, and unfortunately it’s becoming more and more common that the charges appear fist and then consumers have to dispute them later."