Have You Checked Your Phone Bill Lately?

You might be surprised at what you find. The Federal Trade Commission reports that consumers are being “crammed” with outside companies adding charges to your bill. Also check for strange area codes or other charges that you’re not familiar with. In fact,  the FTC announced that Jesta Digital — which you might know as Jamster — has agreed to settle charges that it allegedly “crammed” charges onto people’s mobile phone bills — supposedly for ringtones and other mobile content — after people playing the Angry Birds mobile app on their Android device clicked through a Jesta ad claiming to have detected a virus on the device (it hadn’t).

 Have You Checked Your Phone Bill Lately?

If you were billed for services from Jamster you didn’t agree to, or if someone in your family under 18 agreed to the charges, you may be eligible for a refund. To apply for a refund, call Jamster toll-free at 866-856-5267 or e-mail info@jamster.com. If you have questions about the case, call the FTC at 202-326-3523.

The FTC also offers these tips for how to deal with an unauthorized charge:

1.  Ask your phone company about it

If the charge isn’t from your phone company, the name of the company charging you should be printed nearby. Your phone company should be able to tell you more about the charge.

2.  Dispute it

Your statement should tell you how to dispute errors on your bill.

3.   Follow-up with an email or letter sent by certified mail, and ask for a return receipt

It’s your proof that the company received your letter. Keep a copy of your bill and any other documentation for your files.

4. . File a complaint

Even if you get a refund, if you suspect you’ve been a victim of cramming, file a complaint with the FTC, your state Attorney General’s office, or the state agency that regulates phone service in your state — often the state public service commission or public utilities commission, which you can look up on the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners website. And you can also file a complaint with BBB.

5.  Consider whether a block is right for you

A number of phone companies offer to block third-party charges. Visit your phone company’s website for details about what kind of blocking it offers. If your phone company blocks all third party charges, you won’t be able to sign up for legitimate third party services that interest you. Give some thought to whether a block is right for you, and if it is, contact your phone company and ask for it.

For more, read Mystery Charges on Your Phone Bill.

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About Christine Hayley

I started with BBB|Cincinnati in 1997 as a Co-Op. Today I am the Dispute Resolution Director.