Unlawful Charges

San Diego Unlawful Charge Lawyer

Protection from Unlawful Charges

Federal law prohibits internet and phone companies from charging consumers’ debit or credit cards without express authorization. Express authorization means that before any company can charge an online consumer’s credit or debit card, the company must obtain the consumer’s credit or debit card number, billing address, and contact information. The company must obtain this information directly from the consumer.

Telephone, cellphone, and internet service providers often mislead consumers about the cost of a service, application, or feature, and then stick unexpected, misleading, or unauthorized charges on consumers’ phone bills.

If you have been subjected to fees you were not expecting, call our San Diego unlawful charge attorney at AMartin Law by dialing (619) 268-6585 .

Common Example of Unauthorized Charges

While shopping online, many consumers are tricked into signing up for services or programs that they do not want.

For example, numerous well-known internet retailers offer consumers a coupon at the end of their purchase transactions. When consumers click on the coupon, they unknowingly agree to join a fee-based membership rewards program. The retailers will then give the consumer’s credit or debit card information to a third-party online marketing company. The marketing company begins charging small amounts, often between $9.00 and $15.00, each month in membership fees to the consumer’s credit or debit card. Because the monthly charges are relatively small, consumers often do not discovery the charges until months, even years, later.

Federal law prohibits this practice and requires third-party marketing companies to obtain credit and debit card information directly from consumers before charging their credit and debit cards.

Protections Against Unlawful Charges

The Federal Communication Commission requires that companies clearly describe each service for which customers have been billed. Companies must:

  • Clearly identify the service provider that is associated with each charge on a bill (for example, a bill issued by a local telephone company may include a charge issued by a long-distance company)
  • Clearly explain the consequences of non-payment of each type of charge. This rule prevents consumers from paying suspicious charges out of fear that their basic service may be canceled
  • Include a toll-free number on the bill that customers can call to dispute charges

If you discovered unauthorized charges on your credit or debit cards, contact AMartin Law for a free consultation.

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