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The Boston Globe

Business

Bogus cell fees get closer scrutiny

WASHINGTON — When a mysterious, unauthorized fee appears on your cellphone bill, it is called “cramming,” and consumer advocates and regulators worry it is emerging as a significant problem as people increasingly ditch their landlines for wireless phones.

The cramming fee is bogus and usually small, under $10 a month. It might be listed on your bill as a “premium service” or other generic-sounding charge. Cramming had long been a problem with traditional landline phones, but after pressure from lawmakers, regulators, and others, some of the largest landline carriers said last year that they would no longer allow third-party billing — where an outside company offers and then charges the landline customer for services like third-party e-mail, faxing, or voice mail.

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