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Letter: What can legislation solve?

Published: Saturday, Feb. 16, 2013 5:30 a.m. CDT

To the Editor:

The Alton Telegraph editorial “Cramming law’s effectiveness depends on you” (Another View, January 29) argues that “legislation cannot solve the problem (of cramming). Consumers should take responsibility for knowing the telltale fingerprints crammers often leave behind.”

Why does the effectiveness of this law depend on me, the customer? Because the customer is the only one who can identify which services s/he requested and whether they were delivered? Fine. But, beyond that, why is it that law enforcement doesn’t seem to have any responsibility to step in and enforce the law?

Third-party billings for services never requested placed on telephone and utility bills is a multibillion-dollar fraud perpetrated on the American consumer. Yet the only response one can expect to a verified consumer complaint is that the charge is taken off your bill.

What kind of deterrent effect does that have on the people who placed the fraudulent charge and hoped to collect on it? Why are those who place the billings never prosecuted for fraud? Surely, if crammers can collect on the billings they place, their identities and locations must be on file someplace? e.g., an application for access to the billiung service, a mailing address of Internet link for direct deposit of monies received, an email address where the telephone compony or utility bills them for use of the service. It should take only a few CEOs of these third-party enterprises being thrown in jail for fellow perpetrators to throw in the towel.

Why not do that? Maybe because crime committed by or through business is not considered as problematic or damaging as the same crime committed by individuals?

Robert Suchner


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