Proposed Rules to Avoid Wireless Phone "Bill Shock"
The recent announcement from Verizon Wireless stating the company would be refunding millions of customers for erroneous data charges has been popular in the news. However, the Federal Communications Commission has been interested in creating consumer protection measures against extra wireless charges for some time.
This past April and May, the FCC conducted a survey which found that nearly 20% of Americans experienced a cell phone bill increasingly suddenly from one month to the next. 23% said their sudden increase was $100 or more. In May, the FCC sought public comments in the Federal Register regarding wireless phone usage alerts and whether companies are already using them.
This month the FCC is proposing rules designed to protect consumers from unexpected wireless charges, or "bill shock," which would amend Title 47 of the Code of Federal Regulations. These rules include requiring a wireless company to send a voice or text alert to customers who are about to use more than their minute, text, or data plan allows or if they are about to be charged roaming fees.
For more information and tips on avoiding sudden additional charges to your wireless and data plans, check out the FTC's Tips for Avoiding Bill Shock.