National Consumers League

Cramming fraudsters take notice: AT&T to end wireline third-party billing

March 30, 2012

Contact: NCL Communications, (202) 835-3323, media@nclnet.org

Washington, DC – The National Consumers League, the nation’s oldest consumer organization, today welcomed AT&T’s announcement that it will end most third-party billing on wireline telephone accounts by August of this year. AT&T joins Verizon, which last week announced that they would cease providing third-party billing services on wireline phone bills for so-called “enhanced” services – a major component of cramming fraud.

“AT&T and Verizon’s actions to protect consumers should put fraudsters on notice. Their days of profiting off consumers’ phone bills are numbered,” said John Breyault, the League’s Vice President of Public Policy, Telecommunications and Fraud. “We urge CenturyLink and other phone companies to follow AT&T and Verizon’s lead and put crammers out of business once and for all.”

NCL also reiterated its support for comprehensive federal legislation to prohibit third-party billing for non-telecommunications services on wireline telephone bills. “While we’re glad to see two major telecommunications companies take this important step voluntarily, it is important that there be a clear protections be put in place to protect all consumers,” said Breyault. NCL has also again called on the Federal Communications Commission to act on its pending rulemaking on this issue to ensure that the cramming problem is fixed permanently and consumers, businesses, non-profit organizations and government agencies are protected.

With regards to cramming on wireless telephone bills, NCL urged regulators and legislators to remain vigilant. “We cannot allow the crammers to simply migrate from landline phones to wireless phones,” said Breyault. “With millions of consumers ‘cutting the cord’ and using cell phones exclusively, we cannot take our eye off the ball and let cramming fraud proliferate on wireless bills."

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About the National Consumers League

The National Consumers League, founded in 1899, is America's pioneer consumer organization. Our mission is to protect and promote social and economic justice for consumers and workers in the United States and abroad. For more information, visit www.nclnet.org.