Over the past few weeks, I've been writing about the Federal Communications Commission's struggle to deal with "cramming," a multibillion-dollar industry that cheats phone customers by adding illegitimate charges to their bills. My articles on this scam touched a nerve: Since the first piece ran, I've received a steady stream of emails from DailyFinance readers who have struggled with the problem.
Some have asked about the best way to detect crammed charges, while others have shared their battles with scammers. Many of these respondents have displayed the same emotions: frustration, anger and confusion over why mainstream phone companies are aiding a scheme that cheats loyal customers out of billions of dollars.
A Lonely, Costly Battle
As I've commiserated with some readers and offered advice to others, the impact of this scam has become increasingly clear. For many of the estimated 20 million households that are victims of cramming every year, battling against scammers and the phone company is a lonely, costly struggle. Many of those who have written in seemed surprised to discover that they aren't the only ones who have had to deal with this problem. Again and again, I've been struck by the fact that victims haven't had a place where they can share their experiences.
With this in mind, I'm asking you, DailyFinance's readers, to tell me about your phone cramming experiences. If you have been victimized by questionable or illegitimate phone charges, please send me your story. Most importantly, please let me know how you resolved your problem, which resources proved helpful and, if applicable, the ultimate settlement that you reached with the phone company and/or the third-party companies that illegitimately charged you.
You can either post your response in the comments section of this piece, or can email me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org. Starting late next week, we will compile some of your stories into articles exploring this scam from victims' perspectives. Thanks for writing in!
Bruce Watson is a senior features writer for DailyFinance. You can reach him by email at email@example.com, or follow him on Twitter at @bruce1971.