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