Settlement to Prevent Unauthorized Charges on Phone Bills
November 4, 2016
Attorney General Peterson Announces Settlement with Billing Aggregator to Prevent Unauthorized Charges on Phone Bills
Nebraska Attorney General Doug Peterson announced a settlement today with a company that allegedly placed unauthorized charges on consumers’ telephone bills using a practice called “cramming.”
The investigation revealed that Billing Services Group, based in San Antonio, Texas, billed itself as the “largest third-party billing and settlement clearinghouse for local exchange carriers (LECs),” which are local telephone companies. Billing Services Group entered into agreements with Nebraska LECs that allowed the company to process charges for third-party “enhanced services,” such as web hosting, directory listings and voicemail or email services.
The company was alleged to have billed enhanced services to Nebraska consumers’ landline telephone bills when the consumer had not authorized or accepted the charges. The company did not admit any wrongdoing.
The settlement prevents Billing Services Group from providing billing forwarding services for enhanced services. Additionally, pursuant to the settlement, the company shall not place charges for non-enhanced products or services on a consumer’s bill, unless the consumer has expressly authorized such charges.