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Attorney General comments on federal "mobile cramming" crackdown

JACKSON- Attorney General Jim Hood has joined with 39 other state and territorial attorneys general in sending comments to the U. S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) about stopping mobile cramming, the placement of unauthorized third-party charges on mobile phones, Hood announced today.

“This national problem continues to get worse,” Hood said. “We are determined to help wipe it out.”

cell south iphoneLike his colleagues across the country, Hood’s office receives complaints from consumers about charges, usually around $9.95, that appear on their phone bills without their authorization. The charges are usually for goods and services that the consumers neither requested nor used.

“Most people don’t realize they’ve been crammed because they just don’t read the fine print on their bills,” Hood said. “When they do, they have usually been billed for several months, and then it is very hard to get a full refund or even stop the charges.”

The comments, submitted by the National Association of Attorneys General (NAAG), address four areas of particular concern:

1. Unauthorized charges being placed on consumers’ bills for unwanted and unused services;

2. Inadequate disclosure of third-party charges on mobile phone bills;

3. Inadequate mechanisms for consumers to effectively block third-party charges and obtain refunds; and

4. The lack of state and federal statutory protections governing consumer disputes about fraudulent or unauthorized charges placed on mobile phone bills.

“Mississippians who have discovered these illegal charges on their bills should contact our Consumer Protection Division at 1-800-281-4418,” Hood advised.

Attorneys general from the following states and territories signed onto the letter: Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Delaware, District of Columbia, Florida, Guam, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Puerto Rico, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Tennessee, Utah, Vermont, Virgin Islands, Washington and Wyoming

Vermont Attorney General William H. Sorrell and Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller led the effort to obtain the comments to the FTC.

Source: Office of Attorney General Jim Hood


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