Wireless Carriers Agree To Stop Mobile Cramming

Three wireless behemoths -- AT&T, T-Mobile and Sprint -- have at long last agreed to stop charging smartphone users everywhere for so-called premium text messages, also known as PSMS. Attorneys general from 45 states are calling it a major breakthrough in the battle against mobile cramming.

Forty-five states, led by Vermont, with Delaware, Florida, Maryland, Oregon, Texas and Washington, have been engaged in discussions aimed at stopping the practice of mobile cramming, an industry term for unauthorized third-party charges that appear on mobile telephone bills. This is good news, considering that PSMS accounts for the majority of third-party charges on cell phones and for the overwhelming majority of cramming complaints.

Stopping Scam Artists

EUThis is a victory for cell phone users in Vermont and across the nation. While PSMS has some benefits, like charitable giving, it is also a major contributor to the current mobile cramming problem,EU said Vermont Attorney General William Sorrell.

EUWe are pleased that AT&T, Sprint and T-Mobile have decided to stop the flow of money from the pockets of ordinary people to the bank accounts of scam artists," he said. "WeEUre hopeful the other carriers will soon follow their lead. There is still much work to be done. My office will continue to work with other states for industry reforms and to recover money for consumers victimized by cramming.EU

Sorrell also urged all mobile phone consumers to review their monthly bills to make sure all charges are legitimate. He said consumers who believe their mobile phone bills contain improper or unauthorized charges should call their carriers and ask for refunds.

A Maturing Industry

WhatEUs the big deal, really? According to SorrellEUs research, cramming on cell phones and landlines costs Americans about $2 billion per year. In May, Sorrell released a survey showing that 60 percent of third-party charges placed on the mobile...

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