Vermont Attorney General Bill Sorrell announced that AT&T, Sprint and T-Mobile—will no longer charge customers for Premium Short Messaging Services, also known as “PSMS,” or “premium text messages.”
PSMS is the cause of the majority of third-party charges on cell phones and for the overwhelming majority of cramming complaints.
PSMS is needed for charitable giving but it is also a major contributor to the current mobile cramming problem. You can donate with fees for Philippine hurricane aid.
Verizon is starting to discontinue its PSMS business which was not part of the announcement.
Standard messaging campaigns like voting on shows like American Idol will still work.
Cramming on cell phones and landlines is estimated to cost Americans $2 Billion per year. In May, Vermont Attorney General William Sorrell released a survey showing that 60% of third-party charges placed on the mobile phone bills of Vermonters were unauthorized, or “crammed.”
AT&T, Sprint, and T-Mobile are the second, third and fourth largest providers of mobile telephone services nationwide. Two carriers have confirmed they will continue to allow charitable donations to be billed via PSMS, T-Mobile and Verizon Wireless.
Attorney General Sorrell urges all mobile phone consumers to review the charges that appear on their monthly bills to make sure all charges are legitimate.
Some cramming and spam charges examples are text messages with horoscopes or dating tips sent without consent of the subscriber for $9.99 a month.
Forty-five states, led by Vermont, with Delaware, Florida, Maryland, Oregon, Texas and Washington, have been engaged in discussions aimed at stopping the practice of mobile cramming—unauthorized third-party charges that appear on mobile telephone bills.