04 Mar Can I Be Held Liable for Unauthorized Charges if my Cell Phone is Stolen?
I was surprised to learn that many cell phone contracts provide that the account owner may be legally responsible for unauthorized calls made from a stolen cell phone. David Bach reports on a Yahoo Finance article entitled “Ten Steps to Cell Phone Security,” that large cell service providers like Cingular and T-Mobile have attempted to force customers to pay thousands of dollars for unauthorized charges.
Cingular actually told a San Francisco resident to file bankruptcy to get rid of the charges!
It seems that there is no federal protection for consumers against unauthorized charges similar to the protection offered credit card users. Bach does note that some States do provide protection. I can only imagine the rapid damage a huge cell phone bill can have on your credit score.
In any case, the message I got from this article is to treat my cell phone like a credit card and call immediately to cancel service in the event of a loss or theft.
Bach’s article contains 10 specific steps you can take to avoid these cell phone nightmares, all of which should be required reading for cell phone customers.
Jonathan Ginsberg, Esq.
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