Telephone Billing Rights

It may not seem like you do, but you have telephone billing rights. Even careful consumers can be victims of telephone billing fraud. If you have a problem, it's good to know your rights. Take these steps to resolve any problem if you have been a victim of..

Slamming is when a telephone company providing the phone service is switched without your consent. Don't let this happen to you!

Call your local telephone company. Explain the problem. Ask to be switched back to your original company with no "change charge." Dispute the "slammer's" charges.

Call the company you were switched from. Explain the problem. Tell the company that you are switching back. Ask to be re-enrolled in any calling plan you had.

Call the company that "slammed" you. Tell the company that you are disputing the charges because you never agreed to switch.

Your basic phone services can't be shut off for charges that you are disputing. Notify the local telephone company, which does the billing, about the problem.

In Illinois, slamming has been one of the top consumer complaints in the Office of Attorney General.

Cramming happens when a company adds additional services such as call waiting, three-way calling, paging, etc. that you have not authorized.

Contact the company and cancel the service. Demand the charges removed. Request a refund for any charges you may have paid before noticing the problem,

Call the local phone company who sent the bill to tell them you believe you have been crammed. Use the customer service 800 number on your bill.

Like with slamming, your basic phone service can't be shut off.

Pay-per-call problems result when they appear on your bill.

Call the consumer service number of the telephone company if you have uncertain charges on your bill for information or entertainment services provided through 900 or 800 numbers.

You have the right to dispute these types of charges if you:

  • Didn't make the call;
  • Were billed the wrong amount;
  • Need more information about the charge;
  • Were billed for calling an 800 number without agreeing in advance to be charged;
  • Didn't get the services that were promised;
  • Already paid or were owed credits that didn't appear on the bill;
  • Moved and the bill wasn't sent to your new address.

Contact the local company that sent the bill. Explain the problem.

You can put a block on 900 numbers from your phone.

Collect calls, calling card calls, and other charges result when they appear on your bill.

Call the customer service 800 number on your bill if you have uncertain charges. Let the telephone company know you are disputing the charges.

Remember... Always read your monthly bills carefully. Demand answers for any charges you don't understand. If you think something is not right, call the company's customer service number on the bill.

If you are not satisfied with the response and you feel you are victim of telephone billing fraud, contact the Office of the Illinois Attorney General.

Chicago 1-800-386-5438
Springfield 1-800-243-0618
Carbondale 1-800-243-0607

Prepared by Susan Taylor, Extension Educator, Consumer and Family Economics.

New Features | Home Care | Wellness | Consumer Economics | Foods & Nutrition