(Chicago, IL) — November 30, 2009. Governor Pat Quinn yesterday signed legislation that protects consumers from unauthorized telephone practice commonly known as “cramming” and praised the bill’s principal backer, Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan.
“I applaud the Illinois Attorney General’s hard work in support of this new law, which will combat the growing problem of unauthorized telephone surcharge scams,” said Quinn.
The new law, Senate Bill 1421, amends the Consumer Fraud and Deceptive Business Practices Act by prohibiting third-party service providers from charging consumers on their telephone bill unless:
- The charges and terms have been clearly disclosed.
- The consumer has expressly agreed to obtain the product or service offered.
- The service provider has provided the consumer with a toll-free contact number.
- Consumer consent must be verified by the telephone service provider before any charges are billed.
In addition, the new law requires a record of the consent and verification must be maintained by the service provider for at least two years.
The practice of “cramming” is on the rise in Illinois and Madigan has filed numerous lawsuits against companies participating in the practice.
In November 2008 Madigan filed a lawsuit against a Las Vegas-based corporation, Live Deal, alleging that, in offering Internet yellow pages listings, the company bilked small businesses in Illinois and across the country, by cramming a $35.95 monthly fee onto the unsuspecting consumer’s bills.
Senate Bill 1421, sponsored by Senator Michael Bond (D-Grayslake) and State Rep. John Bradley (D-Marion), was passed unanimously by the Illinois General Assembly. Also supporting this bill were the Illinois Commerce Commission, Illinois Telecommunications Association, AARP, Verizon, and the Citizens Utility Board (CUB).
Attending the bill signing ceremony was CUB Executive Director David Kolata, Illinois Telecommunications Association President Douglas Dougherty, and AARP’s Senior Director of Advocacy Nancy Nelson.