FCC Adopts “Cramming” Notice of Proposed Rulemaking

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At its July Open Meeting, the FCC proposed rules to prevent consumers from being switched to a different phone provider without their permission or having unauthorized charges added to their bills – activities known respectively as “slamming” and “cramming.” While current Commission rules provide some protection against unauthorized charges and carrier switches, the Commission is considering new ways to give consumers more control of their accounts.  Some dishonest carriers have abused the current system to defraud consumers.  The Commission is considering requiring that a phone carrier check directly with the consumer before switching an account to another carrier, rather than relying on that second carrier’s request for that change.  Likewise, the Commission is considering preventing third-party charges from being added to a consumer’s phone bill unless the consumer expressly agrees to the charges.  Comments on the proposed rules are due 30 days after publication in the Federal Register, which has not yet occurred.

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