FCC takes aim at ‘bill shock’

Oct 15, 2010

Ever open your cell phone bill and have your heart stop beating and your blood pressure suddenly rise due to excessive, or unexpected, charges? If you’ve experienced this condition you aren’t alone, surveys show that one in six Americans have experienced ‘bill shock’. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has received numerous complaints from angry customers about excessive data and text message charges, over the limit charges, confusing fees, and international charges. The FCC has responded by proposing new rules that if adopted would require the industry to issue over-the-limit alerts, out-of-the-country alerts and to provide tools that make it easy for customers to monitor and review their balances. The FCC may also require mobile providers to give their customers the ability to cap their usage. The cell phone industry claims the new regulations will “limit the creative offerings and the competitive nature of the industry.” Should cell phone companies do more to help customers understand and manage their charges, or is it the customer’s responsibility?

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