"Phone cramming" is something that seems like it should have been illegal for years.
Cramming refers to the practice of unscrupulous third parties who slip onto phone bills fees for extra email, or insurance or "special" voicemail. The services are worthless, but the often-small fees are hard to spot on long complicated phone bills.
So it was good to see Wednesday that Gov. Pat Quinn signed legislation that would ban cramming as of Jan. 1.
As long ago as 1997, the Sun-Times Editorial Page was inviting officials to understand the "political value of aggressively protecting consumers from companies that knowingly, or even just carelessly, bilk their customers."
it's a big racket. Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan has put the total nationwide loss at $2 billion a year.
Services phone customers were paying for but never intended to buy included calling cards, voice mail service, credit repair services, extended warranties and toll-free numbers for free long distance service, according to Madigan's office.
The bill, House Bill 5211, was sponsored by Rep. Kelly Burke (D-Evergreen Park) and Sen. Dave Koehler (D-Peoria).
Read the governor's Consumer Bills Press Release.pdf here.
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