The Iowa Court of Appeals has sided with the state’s consumer advocate in a case of alleged “cramming”.
The word “cramming” is used when a company adds a service to a phone bill that the customer didn’t order, authorize or receive. The Iowa Consumer Advocate took up the case of an Iowa woman who complained a company called Cheap2Dial had charged her $47.17 on her phone bill. The company said the woman had subscribed to its service via its website, but a check of the information provided indicated the sign-up happened on a computer in another city and some of the information was wrong.
The Iowa Utilities Board ruled it was possible one of the woman’s children may have signed up online or it was a simple billing error rather than an attempt to defraud. But the Consumer Advocate wanted the Utilities Board to hold a hearing on the case, and went to court.
The Court of Appeals has ruled the Board should investigate further, noting if companies determine they can simply reimburse customers who complain, there is no incentive to stop the practice of “slamming” or “cramming” unwanted services on telephone bills.