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   June 16, 2011  David Fiske (202) 418-0513



        $11.7 Million in Penalties Proposed For Unauthorized Charges on

                         Consumers' Monthly Phone Bills

   Washington, D.C. - The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) today
   proposed a total of $11.7 million in penalties against four companies that
   appear to have unlawfully billed tens of thousands of consumers for
   unauthorized charges - a practice known as "cramming." The proposed
   penalties were issued against  Main Street Telephone ($4,200,000);
    VoiceNet Telephone, LLC ($3,000,000); Cheap2Dial Telephone, LLC
   ($3,000,000); and  Norristown Telephone, LLC ($1,500,000).

   "Cramming" occurs when a company places charges on a consumer's phone bill
   without authorization. These mystery fees typically range from $1.99 to as
   much as $19.99 per month. They are often buried in multi-page phone bills
   and have misleading labels that make it difficult for a consumer to detect
   them. The FCC has found that cramming is an "unjust and unreasonable"
   practice that violates section 201(b) of the Communications Act.

   FCC Enforcement Bureau Chief Michele Ellison stated: "Cramming attacks
   consumers in the pocketbook, where it really hurts. The Enforcement Bureau
   takes today's actions to protect thousands of consumers who appear to have
   been hoodwinked into paying for services they never wanted, ordered, or

   In today's cases, the FCC issued Notices of Apparent Liability to each of
   the four companies for apparently charging thousands of customers for
   "dial-around" long distance service that they had not ordered. The
   Enforcement Bureau's investigation revealed that only a tiny fraction of
   the affected consumers (about one-tenth of one percent) actually used the
   services for which they were charged. Nevertheless, the apparently
   unlawful billing continued for months and sometimes years.

   Because these enforcement actions suggest disturbing patterns of deceptive
   activity, the Commission today also released an Enforcement Advisory on
   cramming, emphasizing that all charges placed on phone bills must be
   authorized by the customer, and warning that the Commission will take
   aggressive enforcement action in this area.  The Advisory is available at

   In order to help consumers protect themselves, the FCC has published a
   fact sheet, available at, which provides advice
   on how to avoid cramming, and what consumers should do if they discover
   unauthorized charges on their phone bills.

   For further information, contact Mika Savir (202-418-0384) or Erica
   McMahon (202-418-0346).



   News and other information about the FCC is available at


   Federal Communications Commission

   445 12th Street, S.W.

   Washington, D. C. 20554

   This is an unofficial announcement of Commission action. Release of the
   full text of a Commission order constitutes official action.

   See MCI v. FCC. 515 F 2d 385 (D.C. Circ 1974).

                                        News Media Information 202 / 418-0500


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