Cramming - Core Guidelines


Cramming is a practice where a company places unauthorized charges for telephone and non-telephone related services on your local telephone bill.  Consumers become victims of cramming through:

envelope

  • sweepstakes or contest entry forms;
  • advertisements for information or entertainment services that are available through 900 numbers, and;
  • free offers that trigger an automatic sign-up for a service, along with a monthly service fee.

Examples of cramming include charges for pagers or paging service, voice mail, psychic hotline subscriptions, or chat line memberships. Charges for these services are being included in local telephone bills pursuant to billing and collection service agreements between local exchange carriers and billing aggregators or the service provider.

In order to minimize the instances of cramming, the members of the New York State Telecommunication Association, Inc. (NYSTA) [external link], which represents most Local Exchange Companies providing service in New York, have established the following "Cramming Core Guidelines:"

Cramming Core Guidelines

  1. Cramming is the submission or inclusion of unauthorized, misleading, or deceptive charges for products or services on customers' local telephone bills.
  2. To provide local telephone bills to residential customers that include charges in a clear and understandable form and language.
  3. To fully adjust charges on local telephone bills which meet the definition of cramming in these guidelines.
  4. To address cramming issues through third-party billing and collection agreements.
  5. To provide outreach and customer education as it applies to cramming.