When a mysterious, unauthorized fee appears on your cellphone bill, it's called "cramming" and consumer advocates and regulators worry it's emerging as a significant problem as people increasingly ditch their landlines for wireless phones.

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The cramming fee is bogus and often small, under $10 a month, and might be listed on your bill as a "premium service" or other generic-sounding charge.

Cramming had long been a problem with traditional landline phones, but after pressure from lawmakers and regulators, the largest landline carriers last year said they would no longer allow outside-company billing for "enhanced services" like third-party email  and voicemail.

Despite the complaints, the industry says it's not really a problem with mobile phones because wireless carriers closely monitor third-party vendors who offer services and place charges on mobile bills.

 

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