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Q&A: Unauthorized phone charges, recycling old cell phones, cars that lose value quickest

Phantom fees on phone bill

I'm finding fees added to my telephone bill for services I did not request. How can I stop this from happening?

When fees are added to your bill without your permission, it's called "cramming." These charges often are added to your bill by a third party.

The Better Business Bureau says some victims of cramming may have inadvertently signed up for a subscription service — such as for "free" ringtones or a daily joke or horoscopes — not realizing they'd be billed every month. Calling a psychic hotline or entering a sweepstakes can also lead to cramming. In some cases, the victim may just be an unlucky, random target.

"You might think that nothing bad can happen from giving out your telephone number, but you should guard those digits like you would a credit card or Social Security number," said Steve J. Bernas, president & CEO of the Better Business Bureau serving Chicago and northern Illinois.

Here are suggestions from Bernas:

• Keep a close eye on monthly statements. Anyone can become a victim of cramming, so monitoring your monthly bills is extremely important. The sooner you spot the charges, the sooner you can fight them.

• Know your rights. Contact your telephone provider to see if you can completely restrict third-party billing on your account.

• Know whom you can trust online. Before sharing any personal information online, always research the business with your BBB at www.bbb.org. File a complaint with the FCC for charges related to telephone service and FTC for all other cramming charges on your phone bill, if you can't resolve the matter with the phone company.

Find new uses for old phones

Where can I sell or donate my old cell phone?

There are a number of ways you can use your old cell phone to help someone else, including donating it to domestic violence or homeless shelters. They are sometimes made available to those in need for emergencies because even if they are not on a service plan, they can be used to call 911.

Some other possibilities include suggestions from Kiplinger.com, such as selling your old cell phone on www.flipswap.com, donating by finding a drop off location at www.recellular.com or recycling it at www.recyclewirelessphones.com.

For these and other tips, visit: www.kiplinger.com/columns/kiptips/archives/how-to-dispose-of-unwanted-electronics.html?si=1.

Sebring quickly loses value

What cars lose their value the fastest?

According to Yahoo Autos, the top five cars that lose their value the fastest are: Chrysler Sebring, Mercedes Benz S-class, Kia Sedona, Lincoln Town Car and Mercury Grand Marquis.

For more information, visit autos.yahoo.com/articles/autos_content_landing_pages/1557/ cars-that-lose-their-value-fastest.

Q&A: Unauthorized phone charges, recycling old cell phones, cars that lose value quickest 12/30/10 [Last modified: Thursday, December 30, 2010 3:31am]

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