Getting uncrammed, or how I spent my summer staycation

"T-Mobile provides customers with the ability to purchase various services and products from certain third-party service providers (e.g., games, apps, ringtones, etc.) and have the charges for those services or products included on your T-Mobile bill.

"Third-party charges that appear on a customer's wireless telephone bill are those charges that the customer affirmatively authorizes prior to the processing of the charge on the bill."

Wrong. (Pardon my interruption.)

"Some applications or games may be offered to the customer for a free trial period, after which charges for continued use of the application or game are automatically charged to the customer's wireless bill unless the customer opts out of the service prior to the expiration of the trial. ...

"We encourage our customers to read all text messages and other third party messages carefully, especially if they are agreeing to any recurring charges."

Shortly after this, a T-Mobile representative called to say the company would credit my account $235 out of the $350 I had been billed by third parties over the past 12 months.

This was a surprise, of course, because I'd first been told that I would have to hound each of the companies for refunds.

I suspect it was special treatment because of my inquiry to T-Mobile media relations. If you've had experience with unauthorized third-party charges, let me know how your phone company treated you when you called to complain.

As for the rest of you, keep an eye on your bill, or call your carrier and ask for a block on third-party charges. Don't get crammed.

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