How Cramming Affects Your Company's Bottom Line

By Wayne Rash  |  Posted 2013-11-26 Print this article Print

Verizon Wireless, meanwhile, said it has already begun looking for ways to cut out unauthorized charges. "For years, Verizon has been vigilant in protecting our customers from bad actors," Verizon Wireless General Counsel William B. Petersen told eWEEK in an email. "There have been numerous times we have terminated programs and in some cases have taken aggressive legal action in order to ensure our customers were protected.

"Since premium messaging was first introduced, technology advances and smartphone adoption have dramatically changed the way customers access information. Verizon had previously decided to exit the premium messaging business because of these changes as well as recent allegations that third parties have engaged in improper conduct in providing premium messaging services to our customers."

Petersen said Verizon will continue to support text-to-donate for charitable programs and text-to-contribute for political campaigns that use the technology.

Sprint and T-Mobile have said recently that they are also eliminating their premium SMS services.

"T-Mobile will no longer allow third parties to bill customers for premium SMS services," T-Mobile spokesman Glenn Zaccara told eWEEK in an email, noting that there are some exceptions, including text-to-donate services and Google Play charges.

But it's worth noting that those premium services are not the only way that scammers can add third-party charges to phone bills. Those can show up in the guise of charges for nearly anything, but normally they're intended to appear as if they were legitimate charges, and they're intentionally kept small. The idea is that nobody is going to take the time to call to dispute a 99-cent charge.

But remember, those charges add up. A 99-cent charge is a $12 annual fee, and if there's one such charge, there are probably many. It can add up to real money if not kept in check.

In the meantime, perform a random sample of phone bills to get a handle on the size of the problem and create a policy regarding add-on charges for phone bills. For example, you might choose to allow charitable contributions, but you might also choose not to reimburse employees for them. Keeping a lid on these expenses need not take a lot of time, but it can pay big dividends over the long run.


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