Tag: cramming

Protect Yourself From Cramming - Do’s and Don’ts

Are you one of the 15 million to 20 million people the FTC estimates are crammed each year? Cramming is when a company adds unauthorized or deceptive charges to a consumer’s phone bill. One of the reasons cramming is so common is that the amounts charged are often small, usually only a few dollars. As a result, many consumers don’t notice they’re paying extra for a product or service they didn’t order. So how can you stop cramming?

  • Do review your phone bill every month. Yes, you’re busy—but one of the best ways to stop cramming is to review every phone bill. Look for charges you haven’t authorized, even if they sound legitimate. If you have ordered a new service, check the bill to make sure you’re being charged for what you ordered—and not more.
  • Don’t cash checks without reading the fine print. Crammers sometimes send checks in small amounts—often a few dollars—to unsuspecting consumers. But by cashing the check, you agree to purchase a product or subscribe to a service that, chances are, you don’t want.
  • Do consider a third-party billing block. A billing block prevents companies from charging your phone bill unless you contact the phone company first to authorize the charge. Contact your local phone company to learn how to place a third-party billing block on your line.
  • Do contact the merchant or phone billing service when you find a suspicious charge.  As soon as you notice an unauthorized transaction, contact the company listed on the line item. Remember, even if you dispute a charge, you’re still required to pay the rest of the phone bill on time.

As a third-party payment processor, ILD Teleservices works closely with its partner merchants to ensure accurate billing.  We screen merchants before we work with them, monitor them to make sure they comply with good business practices, and require them to verify authorization of billing. Learn more about the ILD Consumer Protection Standards of Practice.

If you have questions about a bill, please visit our Help Center.

 

Image: renjith krishnan / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Shop Smarter with Phone Billing - FAQ

What is phone billing? If you’re shopping on a website that sells digital services, such as gaming or downloads, you may see an option to charge the purchase to your telephone bill. But is this a safe way to pay online? How does phone billing work? Is it the same as cramming?

Here is a consumer FAQ guide to shopping smartly and safely with phone billing:

What is phone billing?

Phone billing allows online shoppers to buy ecommerce services and charge the transaction to a telephone bill. It’s not a credit card transaction, so you pay no interest or other fees that big banks tack onto credit card sales. When the transaction shows up on your phone bill, you simply pay it along with the rest of the bill, using whatever payment method you normally use, such as a check or money order. The entire transaction is handled by a third party payment processor, like ILD Teleservices.

But is this a safe way to shop online?

Absolutely! When you charge a purchase to a phone bill there are no credit card or bank account numbers to share over an Internet connection—and that significantly reduces your risk of identity theft. You’re not asked to provide any sensitive financial information; you’ll simply give your phone number as well as information to verify your identity.

Will I become the victim of cramming if I pay for digital goods through phone billing?

Cramming is when a consumer is subject to unauthorized charges on a phone bill. A reputable payment processor works very hard to ensure that customers are billed only for the goods and services they have ordered. At ILD, we take proactive steps to protect consumers from cramming. For instance, before we agree to handle phone billing for a merchant, we conduct a rigorous screening process to ensure that company maintains appropriate business practices.

If you ever have a question about an ILD charge that appears on your phone bill, we welcome you to contact our help center.

Review Your Bills

 

We encourage consumers to review their bills each month, from credit cards to utilities and phone bills. So, we are re-running a blog post from last year, where we provided some best practices we’ve picked up along the way.  Here it is:

 

In this economy, every penny counts—and that makes it especially frustrating to discover a charge you didn’t authorize on your phone bill. The good news is you can reduce the risk of becoming a cramming victim. Here’s a guide to help you prevent those unauthorized telephone charges.

Cramming hurts consumers.

Cramming occurs when your telephone bill is charged with services that weren’t ordered by you or anyone else in your household. Unauthorized charges range in monetary amounts, but can be as little as a few dollars. If they go undetected, they add up over time, putting a ding in your wallet. The charges can be for a variety of services, such as web hosting, club fees, or phone calls.

Protect yourself from cramming.

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) recommends these steps for reducing your risk of cramming:

  • Review each line of your phone bill every month.
  • Read the fine print before providing your phone number and other information to enter contests and other promotions. Fraudsters may use your entry form as an authorization to enroll you into a service so they can bill the charges to your phone account.
  • Be wary of signing up for a “free” club or service or of claiming a “free” prize; you may be inadvertently signing up for a fee service that’s charged to your telephone bill.
  • Contact your phone company to ask about the blocking options they offer. A block will prevent a certain type of service on your phone line. For example, a third-party service block stops any third-party payment processors from billing your account.

ILD protects consumers from cramming.

ILD Teleservices is a third party payment processor. Merchants use our Bill to Phone service to allow consumers to charge purchases directly to their phone bill. As a result, consumers do not need to share sensitive financial information, like credit card numbers or bank account numbers, reducing your risk of identity and credit card fraud.

We are committed to protecting consumers from unauthorized charges. For example, ILD only works with merchants after the vendor successfully passes a screening process that includes extensive background checks and a business plan review. After we take on a merchant, we continue to monitor their activities and customer satisfaction levels.  If ILD receives excessive complaints about a merchant, we take immediate action to rectify the problem or, if necessary, terminate our business relationship with the company.

Call us if you have questions.

ILD’s U.S. based customer service team is available Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. (CST) and Saturday from 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. One of our associates will answer your questions or help find a resolution.

Check Your Phone Bill

What is cramming? How do I stop it? If you’re a consumer with questions, we have answers. Here’s our FAQ guide to cramming:

What is cramming?

Cramming is when unauthorized charges are applied to your telephone bill. Since the amounts are often small—typically a few dollars—they can be easy to overlook.

How do I recognize cramming charges?

First, it’s important to examine your phone bill every month. By becoming aware of “normal” charges, it will become easier to identify fraudulent or unauthorized transactions. The charges often have generic—but legitimate-sounding—names, such as activation fee, membership fee, or use fee. You might also discover charges for web hosting or long distance phone service you did not order.

How do I stop cramming?

  • Contact the company who applied the charges in question. If the fee’s description is unclear, request a more detailed description. Ask the company to explain the charges, and, if necessary, adjust them.
  • Alert your local phone company and tell them the situation. Ask the representative to explain the procedure for removing the charges from your bill.
  • If you’re unable to resolve the issue, the Better Business Bureau (BBB) recommends filing a complaint with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) if the charges are related to phone services or the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) if the charges are related to non-phone services.

ILD Teleservices provides consumers with a safe and reliable way to shop online with Bill to Phone. Our service allows you to charge goods and services directly to your phone bill. Our company’s U.S.-based customer care team is an industry leader, offering dispute resolution and self-help tools. ILD is a BBB Accredited business and has earned an A rating from the organization.

If you have questions about an ILD transaction, please contact our help center.

In this STOPeconomy, every penny counts—and that makes it especially frustrating to discover a charge you didn’t authorize on your phone bill. The good news is you can reduce the risk of becoming a cramming victim. Here’s a guide to help you prevent those unauthorized telephone charges.

Cramming hurts consumers.

Cramming occurs when your telephone bill is charged with services that weren’t ordered by you or anyone else in your household. Unauthorized charges range in monetary amounts, but can be as little as a few dollars. If they go undetected, they add up over time, putting a ding in your wallet. The charges can be for a variety of services, such as web hosting, club fees, or phone calls.

Protect yourself from cramming.

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) recommends these steps for reducing your risk of cramming:

  • Review each line of your phone bill every month.
  • Read the fine print before providing your phone number and other information to enter contests and other promotions. Fraudsters may use your entry form as an authorization to enroll you into a service so they can bill the charges to your phone account.
  • Be wary of signing up for a “free” club or service or of claiming a “free” prize; you may be inadvertently signing up for a fee service that’s charged to your telephone bill.
  • Contact your phone company to ask about the blocking options they offer. A block will prevent a certain type of service on your phone line. For example, a third-party service block stops any third-party payment processors from billing your account.

ILD protects consumers from cramming.

ILD Teleservices is a third party payment processor. Merchants use our Bill to Phone service to allow consumers to charge purchases directly to their phone bill. As a result, consumers do not need to share sensitive financial information, like credit card numbers or bank account numbers, reducing your risk of identity and credit card fraud.

We are committed to protecting consumers from unauthorized charges. For example, ILD only works with merchants after the vendor successfully passes a screening process that includes extensive background checks and a business plan review. After we take on a merchant, we continue to monitor their activities and customer satisfaction levels.  If ILD receives excessive complaints about a merchant, we take immediate action to rectify the problem or, if necessary, terminate our business relationship with the company.

Call us if you have questions.

ILD’s U.S. based customer service team is available Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. (CST) and Saturday from 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. One of our associates will answer your questions or help find a resolution.

Cramming is the placement unauthorized or misleading charges on a telephone bill. We strongly condemn and do not participate in “cramming”, so if you feel you’ve been crammed or you simply do not recognize a charge, please call us at 800-637-4009 or send us an email to askild@ildmail.com.

Like any bill, it’s important to closely review your phone bill each and every month because whether it’s your phone bill, credit card statement, electric or cable, sometimes charges end up on your bill that you should question. Your phone bill should be treated like any other purchase you make, so take a few minutes each month and closely review all of the charges, just like you do with your bank statement and credit card statements.

Here’s some great advice, courtesy of the FCC, on how to protect yourself and save money.

· Ask yourself the following questions as you review your telephone bill:

1) Do I recognize the names of all the companies listed on my bill?

2) What services were provided by the listed companies?

3) Does my bill include charges for calls I did not place and services I did not authorize?

4) Are the rates and line items consistent with the rates and line items that the company quoted to me?

· You may be billed for a call you placed or a service you used, but the description listed on your telephone bill for the call or service may be unclear. If you don’t know what service was provided for a charge listed on your bill, ask the company that billed the charge to explain the service provided before paying the charge.

· Make sure you know what service was provided, even for small charges.

· Keep a record of the telephone services you have authorized and used – including calls placed to 900 numbers and other types of telephone information services. These records can be helpful when billing descriptions are unclear.

· Carefully read all forms and promotional materials – including the fine print – before signing up for telephone or other services to be billed on your phone bill.

· Companies compete for your telephone business. Use your buying power wisely and shop around. If you think that a company’s charges are too high or that its services do not meet your needs, contact other companies and try to get a better deal.

Actions You Can Take if You Suspect That You’ve Been Crammed

If unknown or suspicious charges are listed on your telephone bill then immediately call the company that charged you for calls you did not place, or services you did not authorize or use. If the charges appear on the ILD Teleservices page of your phone bill, then call us at 800-637-4009 and we can help to explain the charges. You can also request an adjustment to your bill for any incorrect charges.