Gordon Sponsors Bill to Make “Cramming” on Phone Bills Illegal

State Rep. Jehan Gordon (D-Peoria) is co-sponsoring a bill to make “cramming” on phone bills illegal. Cramming is a practice of phone companies that allows third parties to put unauthorized charges on a landline phone bill, such as e-mail, voicemail, e-fax and indenity theft prevention services.

“When customers choose a service provider for their phone service they trust that the company won’t add fees or change the price without notification,” Gordon said. “But because of some enterprising criminals, customers may soon find themselves paying more for services they never approved or used. This is called ‘cramming’ and it has to stop.”

When cramming occurs, a scammer submits a phony authorization form allegedly approved by the victim to a local telephone company. House Bill 5211 prohibits this practice.

According to the Illinois Attorney General’s office, only one of 20 cramming victims may be aware of the bogus charges appearing on their monthly bill, with an estimated 15 to 20 million American households receiving crammed charges each year.

“I believe that one of my responsibilities as state representative is to protect consumers, “Gordon said. “There are a growing number of individuals who do not have landlines, but those who do are often seniors and others living on fixed incomes. This bill will make consumer scams and frauds more difficult, save consumers money, and make phone bills easier to read.”

House Bill 5211 passed the Consumer Protection Committee last week by a unanimous vote. This bill is awaiting a vote by the House of Representatives.

For more information about this or other pieces of legislation, please contact Gordon’s constituent services office at (309) 681-1992 or email: repjgordon@gmail.com

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