FCC Bans Surprise Phone Charges

Jacquelyn Martin/AP

Ever look at your phone bill and wonder what in the world all those different surcharges are for? Well, that shouldn't be happening according to the Federal Communications Commission.

Despite it being illegal, phone companies have often employed the practice of "cramming" unauthorized line items into a customer's phone bill, and the practice of "slamming," which involves changing a customer's phone provider without their permission. Now, the FCC is explicitly forbidding these tactics, Engadget reports.

"Today, we take even stronger measures to combat these practices,"  FCC Chairman Ajit Pai said in a statement.

The FCC plans to step up enforcement efforts against cramming. Any phone companies that abuse third-party verification process to conduct slamming will be suspended from using that process for the next five years, according to the agency.

"This will serve as a disincentive to carriers abusing the system and create an extra check on carriers with a history of misuse," said the FCC in a statement.