FCC: Wireless Carriers To Now Warn Consumers on “Bill Shock”

bill shock FCC: Wireless Carriers To Now Warn Consumers on Bill Shock

Last month’s phone “Bill Shock” is still haunting my mind. I am sure you are also acquainted with high unexpected bill arriving your door steps. But now it seems that we may have a relief. Yes. Officials at the Federal Communications Commission is considering requiring wireless companies, such as Verizon Wireless, AT&T, Sprint and T-Mobile, to send a text message or other real-time alert to subscribers on the verge of racking up charges for exceeding their plan’s data or text-messaging limit.

Till date, we often get higher bills than expected because we are not notified when our data usage is about to finish-result is higher bills. FCC said it wants wireless carriers to notify their customers before they reach roaming or data usage limits under their wireless service plans and will also allow customers to automatically cut off service if they exceed their limits. The idea is to staunch “bill shock” which is quite simply, the unfortunate experience of getting a wireless phone bill that was higher than expected.

The FCC’s proposal is part of a broader inquiry into how to overhaul “truth in billing” rules to provide consumers with more information about the services they’re receiving, such as data speeds, and what all those line charges on phone bills actually mean. CTIA, the international organization representing the wireless communications sector, said consumers can also call their carriers or check their usage via their carriers’ Websites. It also added that Verizon, AT&T, Sprint and T-Mobile provide consumers the ability to monitor how many minutes, how much data and how many texts they have used by typing key phrases into their phone. Fair Judgement!

Joel Gurin, chief of the commission’s Consumer and Governmental Affairs Bureau, said officials decided to take the step after receiving hundreds of complaints from customers and reading a recent Boston Globe story about a Dover man who received an $18,000 cell phone bill covering a six-week period.The story “confirmed this was an issue where a lot of consumers can suffer pretty significant losses and where carriers have not yet found a solution,’’ Gurin said.

However, the scheme is quite similar to rules enacted in March in the European Union after consumers complained about inadvertently amassing large data-roaming charges while travelling. The EU now requires carriers to warn consumers when they’re getting close to their data roaming limits and allows customers to automatically cut off service if they exceed their limits.

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1 Comment on FCC: Wireless Carriers To Now Warn Consumers on “Bill Shock”

  1. Roman Pospisil says:

    There is solution to turn off data while roaming for Nokia Symbian S60 smartphones: Roaming Guard (www.roamingguard.com). Roaming Guard can be used by anyone who travels abroad or who lives or works near a border, but also in national or regional roaming. Roaming Guard simply and reliably guards your data connections and prevents unpleasant surprises, like being presented an astronomical bill for data roaming.

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