FCC officially bans the dirty 'cramming' and 'slamming' practices

The practices resulted in you ending up with unauthorized charges on your phone bill, and more.

Roger Cheng Former Executive Editor / Head of News
Roger Cheng (he/him/his) was the executive editor in charge of CNET News, managing everything from daily breaking news to in-depth investigative packages. Prior to this, he was on the telecommunications beat and wrote for Dow Jones Newswires and The Wall Street Journal for nearly a decade and got his start writing and laying out pages at a local paper in Southern California. He's a devoted Trojan alum and thinks sleep is the perfect -- if unattainable -- hobby for a parent.
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Roger Cheng

The FCC put some more teeth in the rules against some shifty phone practices. 

The Federal Communications Commission is putting its foot down on some shady practices in the phone industry. 

The agency voted to establish a clear ban on the practice of "cramming," which forced unauthorized charges onto your phone bill, and "slamming," which switches your service without your consent or knowledge. The ban extends to lies said during sales calls as well as to marketing material, and it invalidates any authorization given by consumers to switch service. 

The rules will be a relief to traditional phone customers, but Public Knowledge noted that the protections don't extend to digital options such as voice-over internet protocol, or VoIP, phone services. 

"Consumers don't feel any better when they are ripped off by shiny new digital telephone service rather than legacy analog service," said Harold Feld, senior vice president of the consumer interest group. "Consumers deserve protection no matter what technology they use to make phone calls."