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FCC now requiring phone providers to clearly identify third-party charges

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The FCC passes new regulations requiring landline phone providers to inform subscribers of their ability to block third-party fees and have the charges clearly outlined on invoices.


In its ongoing efforts to bring clarity to consumer's phone bills, the FCC has enacted new rules requiring landline phone providers to clearly separate third-party charges on monthly invoices and inform subscribers of their ability to block the fees entirely. The new regulations are intended to combat the practice known as cramming, wherein service providers add unauthorized charges that aren't clearly outlined at the time of purchase, such as voicemail charges and minimum monthly usage fees. The FCC estimates that 15 to 20 million subscribers are hit with unauthorized charges every year, but only five percent of users are actually aware of the added fees. Unfortunately, the new rules don't apply to wireless providers or VoIP services, but the FCC claims that they will monitor complaints from consumers to see if further action is required.