Skip Navigation

Close and don't show again.

Your browser is out of date.

You may not get the full experience here on National Journal.

Please upgrade your browser to any of the following supported browsers:

Rockefeller Reveals Investigation Into Telephone 'Mystery Charges' Rockefeller Reveals Investigation Into Telephone 'Mystery Charges'

This ad will end in seconds
Close X

Want access to this content? Learn More »

Forget Your Password?

Don't have an account? Register »

Reveal Navigation


Rockefeller Reveals Investigation Into Telephone 'Mystery Charges'

Senate Commerce Chairman Jay Rockefeller, D-W.Va., announced Friday that he has been investigating "mystery charges" on telephone bills for several months.

Although the investigation is ongoing, Rockefeller said the practice of third-parties placing charges on phone bills has raised "serious concerns."

According to a statement from the committee, investigators are looking at AT&T, Verizon and Qwest to determine the companies' role in "cramming," which the committee defines as a "deceptive practice that involves placing unauthorized mystery charges on telephone bills."

The committee has been looking at the problem since as long ago as June, when Rockefeller sent the three major phone carriers letters requesting information about third-party companies that are allowed to place such charges.

So far, investigators have determined that many of the companies allowed to charge consumers have faced customer complaints, received failing grades from the Better Business Bureau, and often charge for services that are offered for free or through existing service plans, according to a committee statement.

"Last year, we put an end to an online practice that cost Americans more than a billion dollars in unauthorized charges on their credit and debit cards," Rockefeller said. "I'm continuing this fight -- if unauthorized charges are being placed on consumers' telephone bills, I'm going to put a stop to it."

The committee is now looking deeper into the relationships between major telephone service providers and the companies suspected of "cramming."

Don't Miss Today's Top Stories


Rick, Executive Director for Policy

Concise coverage of everything I wish I had hours to read about."

Chuck, Graduate Student

The day's action in one quick read."

Stacy, Director of Communications

I find them informative and appreciate the daily news updates and enjoy the humor as well."

Richard, VP of Government Affairs

Chock full of usable information on today's issues. "

Michael, Executive Director

Sign up form for the newsletter