New effort to cut charges from telephone bills


New legislation in Illinois could cut the cost of your telephone bill.

Governor Pat Quinn has signed a measure Sunday with the goal of protecting telephone consumers from a practice known as "cramming." It's when third-party telecommunication providers add charges to phone bills without consumers' consent. The bill amends the Consumer Fraud and Deceptive Business Practices Act to prohibit cramming.

Phone providers can now add charge only if they meet certain conditions, including clearly disclosing the charges and getting consumers' consent.

Quinn signed the bill in Chicago, where the Citizens Utility Board voiced its support.

"We've seen a huge uptick in cramming complaints recently and we know its a very detrimental effect on the economy," said CUB Director David Kolata. "With consumers having a difficult time as it is paying their bills to be paying for things you never ordered in the first place makes a bad situation worse."

Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan, industry groups and the AARP also supported the measure.

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