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Home Anti-Cramming 12-21-11Anti-Cramming 12-21-11 > Telecommunications > Anti-Cramming Rule Registration Requirements

Anti-Cramming Rule Registration Requirements

On December 20, 1999, in Docket Number 99-717 (pdf - 35KB), the Commission adopted a final rule, Chapter 297, that prohibits service providers from placing a charge for a good or service on a customer’s telephone bill without first obtaining the customer’s express authorization. This practice is commonly referred to as "cramming." The rule enables the Commission to protect telecommunications customers from the misleading and abusive marketing practices associated with cramming.

The rule requires that billing aggregators and service providers be registered with the Commission prior to placing charges for goods or services on a customer’s telephone bill, and prescribes a process for such registration. The rule also establishes a process for resolving customer complaints associated with cramming and prescribes penalties for violations of the rule. If the registered entities or the billing agents fail to comply with requirements of the rule, the Commission is authorized to impose administrative penalties of up to $1,000 per violation and to revoke the registration of the service provider or billing aggregator.

Click on the link below for an application to register as a service provider or billing aggregator. Completed application forms should be mailed to: Consumer Assistance Division, Maine Public Utilities Commission, 242 State Street, 18 State House Station, Augusta, ME 04333-0018. Please contact Kathy Adams with questions.

A special note to telephone utilities in Maine:

Beginning April 1, 2000, a billing agent may not bill on behalf of a service provider or billing aggregator whose name is not on the Commission’s list of active registrations.

A telephone utility authorized by the Commission to provide telephone service is not required to be registered. The Commission maintains a list of approved telecommunications companies.