Durbin Discusses Consumer Protection with Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan

Meeting with AG follows Commerce Committee hearing on fraudulent phone charges

[WASHINGTON, D.C.] – U.S. Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) today met with Attorney General Lisa Madigan who was in Washington, DC to testify before a Senate Commerce Committee hearing on a scam that involves unauthorized third-party charges on telephone bills – commonly known as “cramming”.  Durbin commended Madigan for her effort to strength protections for consumers when it comes to fraudulent phone charges and on other issues such as the effort to end the deceptive marketing and recruiting practices of for-profit colleges.


“Attorney General Madigan has been a leader on consumer protection issues in the state of Illinois,” said Durbin.  “I agree with her effort to end fraudulent phone charges and will work on federal level to ensure that consumers in Illinois and nationwide no longer have to deal with these mysterious charges on their phone bills.”


Cramming refers to the mysterious charges that appear on Americans’ phone bills for services they do not want or use. An investigation released today by the Senate Commerce Committee suggests that cramming is causing extensive financial harm to all types of landline telephone customers, from residences and small businesses, to government agencies and large companies.  According to the study, over the past decade, telephone customers nationwide appear to have been cheated out of billions of dollars. 


Durbin has long fought to protect students and veterans from for-profit colleges that engage in deceptive marketing and recruiting practices that leave students with worthless degrees and deeply in debt.  For-profit colleges receive an average of 77% of their revenue from federal loans and grants- including new GI Bill and other military education benefits, it’s more than 90% at some schools.  But while for-profit colleges educate less than 10% of college students, they receive 25% of all Pell grants and account for 44% of federal student loans defaults. 


Durbin has been working with his colleagues, including the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee Chairman Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA), to strengthen oversight of federal student loan funding including military education benefit dollars in order to protect our students, veterans and military personnel from abuses in the for-profit higher education industry.