Posted on Jun 26, 2013 in News Releases

As the use of smart phones increase in today’s world, phone apps and a variety of other products are increasingly being marketed by third parties to mobile phone users through the use of unfair and deceptive practices, such as “mobile cramming.”

Mobile cramming charges are third party charges that may appear on your mobile phone bill for things which you did not purchase, had no idea you signed up for and are not aware you are being billed for. Mobile cramming is considered an unfair and deceptive practice because the marketing methods used by the provider do not assure that the phone subscriber actually agreed to purchase the claimed services or features for which they are billed.

Cramming charges can range from $1 to $24.95 and appear on your monthly phone bill in a manner that makes it easy to overlook, especially if your phone bill varies from month to month. In its recent comment to the Federal Communications Commission, the Federal Trade Commission referenced reports of numerous consumer groups noting that mobile cramming is a “growing problem” and “poised to become a major consumer fraud issue.” 

Avoid being a victim of mobile cramming. Three things you should look for in detecting crammed charges on your mobile phone bill:

  • If you received random text messages with unsolicited information such as celebrity gossip, joke of the day, lottery number notifications, daily deal alerts, horoscopes, or other text message subscriptions.
  • If your bill amount varies from month to month or if your bill suddenly goes up even if it is a minimal amount.
  • If there are certain unknown charges on your mobile phone bill for services such as minutes use fee, activation, member fee, voice mail, or web hosting, and other miscellaneous or third party charges.

 Click here to learn more from a survey conducted by the State of Vermont.

If you believe that you have been a victim of mobile cramming, you may report it and/or file a claim at the Hawaii Office of Consumer Protection:

Oahu (808) 587-3222 (press 3 at the menu)
Maui (808) 984-2400 (ext. 7 – 3222#)
Hawaii (808) 974-4000 (ext. 7 – 3222#)
Kauai, (808) 274-3141 (ext. 7 – 3222#)
Lanai/Molokai 1-800-468-4644, (ext 7-3222#).
Prior Complaints: (808) 587-3222 (press 1 at the menu)