It's always a good idea to comb through your wireless phone bill each and every month to make sure you aren't being hit with any unauthorized charges, such as ringtones, screensavers, and other third-party items that you never agreed to purchase. It's a practice known as bill cramming, and it's something the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) takes very seriously. The FCC is so serious that it may slap Sprint with a hefty fine for allowing its customers to be charged for services they never wanted or requested.
According to Reuters, FCC commissioners are currently reviewing the situation and will soon vote on the proposed $105 million fine. It's the same amount the FCC punished AT&T with back in October, which also stemmed from cramming allegations, and is the largest the agency has ever handed out. Of the $105 million AT&T fine, $80 million went back to customers, $20 million was earmarked for penalties in each state, and the remaining $5 million went to the FCC.
Image Source: Flickr (Mize Mozart)
Sprint and AT&T aren't the only ones on the FCC's radar. All four major wireless carriers in the U.S. -- AT&T, Verizon, Sprint, and T-Mobile -- agreed in November to stop billing customers for third-party services, and of those companies, the FCC is investigating cramming complaints associated with T-Mobile.
FCC officials spoke about Sprint's case on the condition of anonymity since the fine is not yet public information. They didn't say how the cramming charges came about, though in AT&T's case, they would typically come from unsolicited text messages that contained things like horoscopes, love tips, and so forth.