Blumenthal: Regulations needed to prevent ‘cramming’

Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) called for stronger regulations and oversight to prevent companies from “cramming” — charging customers for services they didn’t request.

“Voluntary guidelines have failed to curb this pervasive nuisance, and even with this consent decree, strong federal regulations and ongoing oversight are needed,” Blumenthal said Wednesday.

{mosads}Blumenthal’s comments came after AT&T agreed to pay $105 million to settle changes that it illegally billed millions of customers for charges they never requested and didn’t want — a practice known as “cramming.”

The Federal Communications Commission and Federal Trade Commission (FTC) announced the settlement would refund $80 million to customers who were unfairly charged.

“This consent decree sends a strong message to wireless carriers and crammers that this insidious practice will not be tolerated,” Blumenthal said. “Carriers who continue to profit from allowing third-parties to deceive their customers through cramming must take notice and reform their practices immediately — or face harsh penalties.”

Blumenthal has co-sponsored the Fair Telephone Billing Act, which would prohibit phone providers from charging customer for any third-party fees.

— Julian Hattem contributed to this article.

Tags AT&T cramming Federal Trade Commission Richard Blumenthal

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