FCC Mulls Mobile Phone Alerts to Avoid ‘Bill Shock’

Robocalls: Interest Rate Reduction ScamsThe Federal Communications Commission is looking at possibly requiring wireless phone companies to alert customers to roaming, data usage or other charges that are running beyond pre-set limits –  and long before they produce “bill shock.”
Responding to complaints from cell phone users, the FCC is seeking input on the issue. The result could be regulation similar to a law enacted by the European Union last year requiring wireless providers to text customers when they are running up roaming charges or getting close to the limit for data usage.
“There can be many causes of bill shock, including unclear or misunderstood advertising, unanticipated roaming or data charges, and other problems,” said Joel Gurin, Chief of the FCC’s Consumer and Governmental Affairs Bureau. “We’re issuing a Public Notice to see if there’s any reason that American carriers can’t use similar automatic alerts to inform consumers when they are at risk of running up a high bill.”
The FCC is seeking inputs on several aspects, including whether “technological or other differences exist that would prevent wireless providers in this country from employing usage alerts similar to those now required by the EU.” 
The commission also is looking for insight into wireless users’ current habits. It wants to know if they are monitoring their data usage and if they are aware of exceeding allocations of voice minutes and text messages.
The FCC will also determine if any U.S. provider is already offering such usage alerts, and the cost to the consumer or providers.
It will also explore whether such information on usage “can be accessed on wireless devices by people with disabilities – in particular, by people who are blind or have low vision — and what kinds of usage alerts would be most helpful to them.”
For details, see the FCC’s public notice.

One thought on “FCC Mulls Mobile Phone Alerts to Avoid ‘Bill Shock’

  • May 23, 2010 at 4:52 am

    After a few “bill shocks” of my own I went onto Net10 prepaid and I’m saving a fortune! This year I will save over $800.00 as I’m only paying 10c per minute for my calls and 5c per text and not a penny more for anything! My phone came with 300 free minutes and I no longer dread the phone bill arriving at the end of the month!

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