Phone Crammers to Pay $210,000 in Redress

Share this article:
The Federal Trade Commission said yesterday two companies and their collection agency would have to pay $210,000 in redress to consumers who had unauthorized charges added onto their phone bills.

As part of the court settlement, Crown Communication Concepts and Investments Inc., Crown Communications Two Inc. and Global Collections Inc., which all operated out of the same Florida office, also will forgive about $36 million in unpaid charges for services billed that were never paid.

The companies are no longer operating and could not be reached for comment.

According to the FTC, the companies used a caller ID system to insert unauthorized long-distance charges -- a process called "cramming" -- onto customers' bills when the customers responded to a toll-free number in the companies' advertising. The charges were for "audiotext" calls, which primarily were adult-content services. When customers called to complain, the customers' local carriers generally removed the charges, but some customers were then contacted by Global, the Crown companies' collection agency, and told that if they did not pay their credit rating would be damaged.

The FTC originally filed the complaint with the Federal District Court in Southern Florida in 1998.
Share this article:
You must be a registered member of Direct Marketing News to post a comment.

Next Article in Agency

Sign up to our newsletters

Follow us on Twitter @dmnews

Latest Jobs:

More in Agency

Are You Really Ready for Customer Experience?

Are You Really Ready for Customer Experience?

Marketers can talk a good game about customer centricity, but actions speak louder than words.

Essentials in Content Marketing: Think like a best-selling author

Essentials in Content Marketing: Think like a best-selling ...

Imagine if all the electronic content thrown your way daily was actually printed on paper. To stand out from those piles of worthless pixels, you must offer your audiences intriguing ...

The Mobile-Email Marriage

The Mobile-Email Marriage

Marketers who considered leaving email at the altar are finding renewed passion for the channel as an ever-increasing number of customers triage, read, and click-through email on their smartphones.