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Premium Text Messaging: Read Your Cell Phone Bill Carefully

By Admin on January 11, 2011 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

The next time you get an astronomical cell phone bill, look it over carefully. You may be surprised to find unexpected premium text message fees. What exactly is premium text messaging? Premium text messaging is the option given to cell phone users to buy or subscribe to third-party content providers, according to Verizon Wireless.

Ignore this new cell phone trend at your peril. Just ask Dr. Dan Stambor; he was charged for premium text messaging even though he doesn't know how to send a text message, the Seattle Post-Intelligencer reports. "I don't know how to do text messaging. I don't know where (the charge) came from," he said. Luckily for him, he was able to explain that to his carrier Verizon Wireless and get the charge reversed. They also offered to disable his text messaging so that it would not happen in the future.

Others were not so lucky. Sean Clark was stunned when he opened his cell phone bill and saw almost $10,000 in premium text message fees, according to When he realized it was his developmentally-disabled daughter opting in for premium text messaging, it was hard for him to contest his bill to Sprint. Sprint offered to cut his bill by 50% which still left him with a $5,000 tab.

So what are consumers to do to protect themselves from premium text messaging that they don't want?

Here are some quick tips on how to stop and block premium text messaging:

  • Scan your bill for monthly services charges since these text messages are typically a monthly subscription.
  • Stay vigilant where you give out your cell phone number. A lot of these third party carriers get your number from entries for prizes or even Facebook.
  • Ask your carrier to block your phone from receiving premium text messages.
  • Unsubscribe to any services that you are inadvertently enrolled in. There should be a 5 digit number to unsubscribe. Text the word STOP or UNSUBSCRIBE to this number. Make sure you get a confirmation that you have stopped service.

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