Cramming

You could be paying for services you didn't order and don't want. "Cramming" unauthorized charges on your local phone bill is a fast-growing problem. Often, these charges go unnoticed; you pay them because they are on your regular monthly telephone bill even though you don't understand why they are there. Or you might pay them because you worry that your credit rating will suffer if you don't. You are not required to pay unauthorized charges.

How To Prevent Cramming
  • Read your phone bill carefully. Call the company that is billing
  • you and question any curious charges.
  • Never sign anything without reading it thoroughly.
  • When you are called by a telemarketer, obtain the name of the solicitor and the purpose of the call before providing your name and any other information.
  • Be cautious about leaving your name and phone number on automated message systems because this information may be used without your consent to bill you later.
What to Do:
  • Tell your local phone company that you are disputing the unauthorized charges.
  • DO NOT PAY the unauthorized charges, but pay the rest of your phone bill on time.Your local service CANNOT bedisconnected for non-payment of these disputed charges.
  • Advise the company that is charging you for unauthorized services that you did not order and will not pay for these services. Tell them to remove the charges from your bill and not to bill you in the future.
  • Sometimes the charges will be listed under the name of a company acting as a billing agent. When you call to have charges removed, be sure to talk to the service provider making the charges and not just the billing agent. The billing agent may not be able to remove the charges.
  • File a complaint with the Public Service Commission (PSC). Be sure to include a copy of your bill. 
     
What to Watch For:
  • Charges from companies unfamiliar to you.
  • Monthly access or network charges from companies other than your long distance carrier.
  • Charges on a separate page of the bill that appear to be state or federal fees. Legitimate state and federal fees charged by your local or long distance company generally appear on the same page as their other charges or should be clearly labeled as taxes.
  • Services that you did not order, which may be labeled as "voice mail" or "debit cards."
     

Georgia Public Service Commission
244 Washington Street, SW
Atlanta, GA 30334
(404) 656-4501
1-800-282-5813
Fax: (404) 656-2341
Email: gapsc@psc.state.ga.us
 

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