June 27th, 2012
New legislation to end phone bill ‘cramming’
Assemblyman Frank Skartados
ALBANY - Assemblyman Frank Skartados (D-Milton) recently announced that legislation he authored to prohibit the practice of telephone bill “cramming” has passed the Assembly (A. 10256). “Cramming” is the addition of charges on a telephone bill that come from a third party without the informed consent of the consumer.
“Our hardworking families and small businesses shouldn’t be paying higher telephone bills for charges they didn’t agree to,” said Assemblyman Skartados. “This legislation takes steps to stop third parties from wrongly charging innocent consumers and stealing their hard-earned money.”
While both residents and small businesses are targets, small businesses are more frequent victims of “crammers” because their telephone bills are often longer than residential customers, meaning that they are not as likely to catch the extra charges.
“It’s obvious we need legislation to prevent these third-party companies from tricking New Yorkers into paying for extra services and fees on their telephone bills,” said Assemblyman Skartados.
Under the legislation, charges for goods or services other than those provided by the telephone company may be billed only if the customer explicitly consents to the nature and amount of said charges after having received clear disclosure of all terms and conditions. Furthermore, the third party must provide the customer with a toll-free number and address for the resolution of any billing dispute.