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McCaskill Grills Phone Company Execs Over Hidden Fees

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Uploaded on Jul 13, 2011

July 13, 2011 -- U.S. Senator Claire McCaskill today grilled phone company executives over their practice of regularly charging customers hidden fees on their monthly phone bills.

McCaskill used a Senate hearing to blast the practice of "cramming," in which service providers, mobile carriers and third parties bury hidden charges in consumers' bills for services the customers did not use or did not even request.

McCaskill highlighted the case of O'Reilly Auto Parts, a major employer based in Springfield, Mo. Over the past several years, O'Reilly has been forced to hire additional staff members dedicated solely to examining the company's phone charges to root out and contest hidden charges. The company estimates that it has spent tens of thousands of dollars to identify such fees.

"Whether the consumer is an individual or corporation, we view the practice of cramming as unethical and fraudulent," wrote Jeanene Ashler, Director of Telecommunications for O'Reilly, in a letter to the Senate Commerce Committee.

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