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FCC tackles cellphone carriers over ‘bill shock’

updated 04:50 am EDT, Wed October 13, 2010

Forcing auto-notification when near usage limit

The Federal Communications Commission is proposing to introduce rules forcing cellphone carriers to automatically notify users when their monthly usage on calls or texts is near its limit. This move is aimed to help reduce the incidence of 'bill shock' that is prevalent and permits carriers to charge large and sometimes excessive fees on unsuspecting customers. It also plans to force to carriers to notify users if they are in roaming areas where excess charges may apply.

"This is a problem of real magnitude in terms of the number of Americans it affects, and also with dollar amounts that are material to families trying to meet a monthly budget," FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski said at its Thursday meeting. An FCC spring survey found that around 30 million people had experienced bill shock and that overage charges often amounted to $50 or more.

Cellphone carries argue that the rules are unnecessary as many claim they already send notification warnings and give customers access to usage via webpages. Industry group CTIA also suggested that users may be made worse off be any regulations as carriers might choose to be merely compliant and not offer any additional information than required by regulations.



By Electronista Staff
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  1. kerryb

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Aug 2001

    +3

    Banks

    I wish our previous government had done the same thing with the banking industry.

  1. vasic

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: May 2005

    +8

    Are they really so spiteful???

    "Industry group CTIA also suggested that users may be made worse off be any regulations as carriers might choose to be merely compliant and not offer any additional information than required by regulations."

    Right... Because now, with no rules, carriers are benevolent enough to offer all kinds of alerts and warnings, and if the rules were in place, carriers would be prohibited from being benevolent and go beyond what rules require, right? Do they really, really believe everyone is THAT stupid?

  1. bjojade

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Jun 2007

    +4

    More fees.

    And you know an additional line item will get tacked on the bill for everyone as a 'regulatory compliance fee'

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