Cracking down on text message ‘cramming’

1147ea92d220bfb824b26294f0998c15

Those unwanted “joke of the day” or celebrity gossip text messages are certainly annoying. But what New Yorkers may not know is that they can be costly, too.

The practice is known as “cramming,” and it’s when third parties inundate thousands of cell phone numbers with silly information sent via text. Except some people are later billed for those text messages, in charges that show up labeled as “service fee,” “other fees,” “voicemail,” “calling plan” or other vague terms.

“No one should be able to put a charge on your cell phone bill unless you have given explicit consent,” said U.S. Senator Charles Schumer, who is calling on wireless carriers to fix the increasingly common problem. “Cell phone bills nowadays can be dozens of pages long — and if you don’t pay close attention, buried in your bill somewhere could be a $10 charge you never authorized or mistakenly agreed to by replying to an unsolicited text.”

But you can still be charged even if you ignore such a text message.

One New York City man recently received text messages with random information, such as, “Flamingos are pink because they eat shrimp.” He then got a follow-up text that stated he could end the bothersome messages by texting “STOP.”

The man didn’t reply out of fear he would only get more spam. But nonetheless he later got a suspicious charge on his monthly bill for $9.99 for “ringtone.”

Schumer is calling on carriers like Verizon and AT&T to voluntarily prohibit third-party billing if customers do not explicitly say they want such services.

It’s an onerous process to dispute the charges, and it’s one cell phone users shouldn’t have to go through, said Schumer. Specifically, Schumer said he wants the Federal Communications Commission to require wireless carriers get affirmative consent from consumers for any third-party charge — before it winds up at the bottom of a bill.



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
International

Dinosaurs could have survived asteroid strike

It turns out there is a good and a bad time for the planet to be hit by a meteor, and dinosaurs were just unlucky.…

National

OkCupid admits to Facebook-style experimenting on customers

By Sarah McBrideSAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - OkCupid, a top U.S. matchmaking website, intentionally mismatched users to test its technology, the IAC/InterActive Corp service said on…

Local

MTA fares still increasing 4 percent in newly…

The agency said the 4 percent increases, previously announced in December, will remain steady even as the MTA deals with increasing labor costs.

Local

De Blasio, Bratton defend city's efforts after Eric…

Mayor Bill de Blasio justified the city's response to the death of Eric Garner, a Staten Island man who died while in police custody earlier this month.

Movies

Interview: Brendan Gleeson on the way 'Calvary' depicts…

Brendan Gleeson talks about how his new film "Calvary" began over drinks and how his character here is the opposite of the lead in "The Guard."

Movies

'Get on Up' producer Mick Jagger on the…

Mick Jagger, a producer on the James Brown biopic "Get on Up," talks about the time had to tell the singer some bad news and his favorite JB record.

Television

'Glee' star Lea Michele to appear on 'Sons…

"Glee" star Lea Michele has been confirmed as a guest star in the final season of "Sons of Anarchy."

Television

TV watch list, Monday, July 28: 'The Bachelorette'…

See Andi Dorfman make her big choice on tonight's 'Bachelorette' finale.

NFL

Larry Donnell has inside track in Giants tight…

Little-known Larry Donnell of Grambling State currently has the inside track, as the second-year player has received the bulk of the first-team reps.

NFL

Computer to Jets: Start Michael Vick over Geno…

Jets general manager John Idzik says the choice of who starts between second-year quarterback Geno Smith and veteran Michael Vick will be a “Jets decision.”

MLB

Yankees looking to trade for Josh Willingham: Report

CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman reported Sunday the Yankees are interested in Twins outfielder Josh Willingham.

MLB

Joe Torre: I'm in Hall of Fame because…

Joe Torre spent 18 years putting together a near Hall of Fame career as a player. But it was the 12 years he spent as…

Travel

Glasgow: Hey, hey, the gangs aren't here

This European city has done a good job getting rid of its more violent residents and revitalizing with artists.

Education

Babson College tops list of best colleges for…

Money magazine has just released its inaugural list of "The Best Colleges for Your Money" -- and the answers have surprised many. Babson College, which…

Education

NYC teens learn how to develop apps during…

Through a program sponsored by CampInteractive, the high schoolers designed their own community-focused apps.

Tech

The Ministry of Silly Walks app is both…

Monty Python have dug into their back catalogue for cash-ins once more, but with the Ministry of Silly Walks app, they've made something that's fun too.