Cramming practices are common with phone and VoIP bills. The latter is more likely to have cramming charges since the payment is done directly through credit card, and users very rarely get to verify their minutes and cents used. Moreover, there is place for so many additional fees that users are easy to accept as part of the technology, like connection fees, fees for intermediate call termination networks etc.
Detecting CrammingThere are several things you can look at to determine whether you have been victim of cramming:
- Your bill goes abruptly high. Unless you have been abusing of your utility this month in a way that explains the peak, pay attention to the numbers on the bill.
- Some additional lines and figures have been added to the bill, and you can’t find a good reason for them to be there.
- From time to time, take a calculator and check the totals.
Protecting Yourself from CrammingKeep these habits:
- Develop that flair for smelling the rat on the bill. See above. Don’t be a too-easy customer.
- Beware of sentences like ‘Enter to win’, ‘Join the club’ or ‘Free...’ stuff. Pay attention to what they lead to.
- Know and keep track of what you pay for, including the side fees.
- From time to time, even if there is no cramming, call at the operators office and ask some clarifications on the amounts and items on the bill. Just for information. Here is a sample wireline phone bill and its explanation.
- Try eliminating from your service elements that you don’t need. The leaner a bill is, the cleaner it will be and the less chance there will be for cramming.