Ever wondered just how your phone carrier was screwing you on those bills?

We all know that without a doubt that mobile carriers will do whatever they can to screw you out of your money and the place where it happens the most is on that bill you get once a month.

You know, the one that sends you running for the bottle of Advil for the inevitable headache and then the bandages to try and staunch the bleeding from your wallet.

Well apparently there is a name for what the carriers are doing and the correct term for future use is cramming which seems quite apropos since that is how you feel after mortgaging the house to pay the bill.

This type of thing has apparently caught the attention of the politicians in Washington, yes the same ones who get wheelbarrows full of money from these very carriers, and the year long senate hearing chaired by Sen. John D. Rockefeller has discovered some interesting facts about this cramming.

  • Telephone companies place approximately 300 million third-party charges on their customers‘ bills each year.
  • A large percentage of these charges—which could be anything from long distance service to horoscopes and diet plans–were unauthorized. The report did not offer an exact figure for the unauthorized charges
  • Unauthorized charges are typically between $10 and $50.
  • Some of the most egregious examples: Senior citizens being charged for webhosting services despite never using the Internet; a children’s hospital charged for a “celebrity tracker” email service; and unauthorized charges for voicemail services on AT&T’s own telephone lines.
  • The United States Postal Service would have paid almost $550,000 in unauthorized third-party charges if it had not hired an auditor to examine its bills.
  • Major telephone companies have been benefitting from the practice. Verizon told investigators that it receives a fee between $1 and $2 per charge for adding third-party charges on its customers’ bills.
  • Many third-party vendors appeared to have been set up for the sole purpose of collecting bogus fees.
  • Not only do telephone companies make money from such an arrangement—since 2006, AT&T, Qwest, and Verizon have earned more than $650 million from such billing—but companies’ sales representatives, according to the report, often failed to provide adequate assistance to those complaining of unauthorized third-party charges.
  • Although the report was limited to landline telephone bills, the authors said cramming on wireless telephone bills appears to be a problem as well.

And these are the same companies crying the blues because they say they aren’t making enough money being ISPs.

Ya, right.

via Wall Street Journal