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updated 12/17/2010 4:52:18 PM ET 2010-12-17T21:52:18

The Senate Commerce Committee is investigating the role of several tiny companies in charging consumers mystery fees through their phone bills — a practice known as cramming.

Senate Commerce Committee Chairman John D. Rockefeller, D-W. Va., sent letters to three companies Friday asking them to explain unauthorized charges that they or affiliated companies have placed on landline phone bills. Those charges, Rockefeller noted, were often for services that are available for free online, such as email, or are already bundled with regular phone connections, such as voice mail.

The letters went to daData Inc. of Palm Harbor, Fla., My Service and Support of New Hope, Minn., and More International of Carson City, Nev. The Commerce Committee has also sought information from AT&T Inc., Verizon Communications Inc. and Qwest Communications International.

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