Avoiding Unauthorized Cell Phone Charges

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RENO, NV - According to the FTC, T-Mobile charged customers for third-party text message subscriptions that they never agreed to. The carrier is accused of pocketing millions of dollars from it customers for subscriptions to "premium" texts, like a $10 per-month horoscopes or flirting tips, but there are ways to catch this problem by taking a closer look at your bill each month.

For example, you should know the baseline cost of your monthly bill. So make sure to read every page of your statement to ensure that all of the charges are valid. There's a chance extra fees you didn't authorize are being lumped under a general line item that includes regular charges like text messaging.

Also, consider a block on third-party charges. Many carriers already offer a free service, you just have to ask. It's a good idea to know your carrier's policy on refunds for fraudulent charges. Some have a 60-day period for refund requests, and many have a policy of partial refunds for fraudulent charges you detect - no matter how long the cramming charges have occurred.

If you have a pre-paid phone plan, check that you're not losing minutes to pay for unauthorized third-party charges. You want to make sure you don't have minutes go missing due to deductions unrelated to your regular phone calls.

If you suspect you've been a victim of unauthorized charges, contact your phone carrier first, then file a complaint with the FTC.