Somehow, my original message "On The Issue of Cramming" got jumbled so that much of its effectiveness was lost. I asked the moderator earlier in the evening to arrange the paragraphs as I originally intended them to be. However, that has not been done. Therefore, I am retransmitting the message as follows:
I have been crammed three times by One Email A Day (aka 1EMAIL A DAY and oneemailaday.com) via Enhanced Services Billing, Inc. (ESBI). Their unauthorized charges on my phone bill amounted to $15.70, including tax, for each instance. When I went online to obtain advice for stopping the charges, nearly every site I looked at (the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), among others) advised me to first contact the cramming company to ask that they remove the charge.
It is my belief the current advice (and practice) to contact the illicit company only perpetuates the illegitimate activity.
Here is the scenario - as I see it:
1. The consumer complains to the cramming company;
2. The company - knowing the consumer has a valid complaint (and not wanting the complaint to proceed any further) removes the charge;
3. The consumer is satisfied the charge is removed and does not file a complaint with the appropriate authorities;
4. Little or no exposure (legal or otherwise) of the cramming process takes place;
5. The company continues its illegal practices, depending on the remaining (unsuspecting) phone customers to support its unscrupulous activity.
I have never heard of, or made contact with, these companies until I was crammed, nor have I knowingly signed anything where I contracted for their services. Therefore, I do not intend to contact them when trying to remove their charges from my Verizon account. I have a extremely difficult time accepting that I must contact a company I have never heard of to plead with them to stop charging me for an amount of money I never agreed to pay.
To date, Verizon has made the necessary adjustments to my phone bill. Unfortunately, while I have received polite and cooperative assistance, Verizon does not make it easy. Verizon would much rather customers contact the offending company first. I am just adverse to doing that for the reasons given above. Also, one has to dig deep within the Verizon online services to find the appropriate categories for filing a complaint - or disputing a billing charge. Yes, I could call Verizon but I prefer online email services as I don't have to wade through the seemingly endless automated voice assistance format to get to a live person. I am at the age where I don't buy green bananas.
It is time to place the onus on ESBI and other consolidated billing services, instead of the phone customer. ESBI and/or One Email A Day should be required to divulge the originator of the billing to Verizon, right back to why and how One Email a Day came to bill the Verizon customer. This information should be on the Verizon bill the customer receives. In this way, the customer would know who is responsible for the billing.
If everyone who has been crammed would file an official complaint with Verizon, the FTC - and any other applicable state or federal governmental agency - each time they are crammed, a greater effort would be made to eliminate cramming altogether.