Cramming happens when minor expenses are added to an invoice by a third party without the agreement or authorization of the subscriber. Usually cramming is connected and practiced by phone companies and third parties connected to these companies. Cramming is a type of phone scam.
You can be charged for many types of services that will appear on your bill. In addition to billing for its own services, your company may bill you on behalf of other companies for services this different company sells.
In cramming, a company may create a single charge or monthly subscription for potentially millions of people, charging for nothing. Often, these charges go unnoticed because when you pay them they are on your regular monthly bill even though you don’t understand why they are there.
Tips To Avoid Cramming
- Read your bill and fine print carefully. Different subscribtions, services, contests, coupons, checks or promotional ads could potentially include hidden agreements to subscribe for a service you did not even know about. Call the company that is billing you and question any curious charges. Check these every month, because even if they are not here one month they could appear the next one.
- Don’t sign anything before you have read it thoroughly.
- Look at your mail carefully. The message could be a notice that you will be charged for a service unless you contact the company back to cancel it.
- Unauthorized charges should not be paid! You should politely notify your company about anything fishy. Advise the company that is charging you for unauthorized services that you did not order them and will not pay for these services. If nothing happens or if your conversation is leading nowhere you should take more aggressive steps.
- When you are called by a telemarketer, obtain the name of the solicitor and the purpose of the call before providing your name and any other information. Someone posing as a representative may try to trick you by telling you about a service change. If you agree to his messages your answer may be recorded as a proof in later disputes
- Keep your bills and other documents and save them for at least a few years.
- Only deal with service providers that you know. Don’t be pressured into buying any offers made by unsolicited calls or emails.
- Look for any unauthorized calls that have high fees such as a hotline or international calls.
- Ask your company about bill blocking. They may have an option to prevent someone from putting charges for extra services on your bill unless you have confirmed directly with the company that you agreed to purchase them.
If you are certain that the company that is charging you is not honest and your bills are crammed, immediately cancel your service with that company and search for a better company with no cramming practices. Even after you canceled your subscription check your bank or credit card statements for any further charges.
Fortunately “slamming” and “cramming” customers are is banned in many countries worldwise. Therefor if you spot this practiced on your bills, you can report this to your authorities and to any other consumer protection organizations available in your country.