H. Res. 932, Expressing the sense of the House of Representatives with respect to third-party charges on consumer telephone bills

H.Res. 932

Expressing the sense of the House of Representatives with respect to third-party charges on consumer telephone bills

Sponsor
Rep. Janice D. Schakowsky

Date
December 6, 2016 (114th Congress, 2nd Session)

Staff Contact
Communications

Floor Situation

On Tuesday, December 6, 2016, the House will consider H. Res. 932, Expressing the sense of the House of Representatives with respect to third-party charges on consumer telephone bills, under suspension of the rules. The resolution was introduced on November 29, 2016 by Rep. Janice Schakowsky (R-IL) and was referred to the House Committee on Energy and Commerce.

Bill Summary

H. Res. 932 is resolved that the House of Representatives:

  • Improves protections against cramming practices; and
  • Empowers consumers to stop unwanted third-party charges on their telephone bills.

Background

In certain situations, telephone companies are obligated to allow third parties to bill for services on a consumer’s monthly telephone bill. Furthermore, “cramming” is defined as the act of placing unauthorized charges on a wireline, wireless, or bundled services telephone bill of a consumer. While charges are listed on the phone bill, the charges may not actually be from the phone company.

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) estimates that cramming has harmed over tens of millions of people in the United States. Unfortunately, all anti-cramming protections implemented to-date have not been able to prevent financial harm to consumers.[1] This bill would require the FCC to complete a formal rulemaking within two years to protect consumers from cramming.

According to the bill’s sponsor, “In 2014 and 2015, federal consumer watchdogs and state attorney generals reached settlements with major wireless companies totaling $353 million to stop these unfair charges. My bill would build on that progress, requiring the FCC to establish permanent protection for consumers paying for wireless, landline, and bundled phone services. No phone company should allow these outrageous fees on their bills.”[2]

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[1] See H.Res.932, at 1.
[2] See Rep. Schakowsky’s Press Release, June 24, 2016.

Cost

A Congressional Budget Office cost estimate is not available at this time.

Additional Information

For questions about amendments or further information on the bill, contact John Wilson with the House Republican Policy Committee by email or at 6-1811.