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Senator Targets 'Bill Shock' With New Bill

Article Comments  37  

Oct 1, 2010, 12:51 PM   by Eric M. Zeman   @phonescooper

U.S. Senator Tom Udall from New Mexico introduced new legislation this week that would require cellular network operators to notify their customers as they approach their monthly allotted limits for voice minutes, text messages, and mobile data. The Cell Phone Bill Shock Act of 2010's main goal is to help prevent Americans from being "shocked" by large monthly wireless bills when they unknowingly exceed their limits. Udall proposes that carriers notify their customers when they reach 80% of their maximum monthly allotment, and, further, that carriers obtain permission from customers before proceeding with charges above their normal monthly fees. Udall said, "Many Americans have been hit hard by ‘bill shock' and I am pleased to introduce legislation that provides additional consumer protections. The texting and Internet capabilities that make today's cell phones more useful than ever should be applied to help customers avoid bill shock. Sending an automatic text or email notification to a person's phone is a simple, cost-effective solution that should not place a burden on cell phone companies and will go a long way toward reducing the pain of bill shock by customers."

more info at Senator Tom Udall »

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Comments

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This forum is closed.

bobc74

Oct 1, 2010, 1:24 PM

understand your service

Why should it be up to the carrier to notify a user when they exceed their usage? When was the last time your electicty, water or gas company personally notified you that your usage was running above the average? All the carriers offer plenty of options for the consumer to choose how much usage they need or want to pay for. They also have multiple options available for consumers to monitor their usage throughout the billing period. If the consumer doesn't keep tabs on their usage why should that be the carrier's fault? In my 13 years experience as a wireless sales consultant, I would say most people that have problems with this issue tend not to look at their bills, monitor their usage, select a realistic plan for how they use their phones...
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we made the same point at the same time! lol Laughing
but WE are right. we don't need to babysit customer's.
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Amen-

Even with alerts sent to their phone about exceeding usage the sames customers will just deny or ignore those too!
There's a difference here. Your electic, gas, and water company don't charge you a set monthly price for an allowance of utility, then slam you with overage charges if you exceed that allowance. You pay for exactly what you use, so the months that you...
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kingstu

Oct 1, 2010, 2:35 PM

It's all about data...

If you don't have a data plan and use a smartphone you can see astronomical prices. Hundreds or Thousands of dollars a day. The cell companies should do it automatically especially when something very unusual happens.

The fact is they make lots of money on overages and that is why they don't warn you. And data usage is really hard to track real-time.

Not all phones make it easy to know how much data they are consuming also. Things can be scheduled to run in the background so you might not even know they are there.

If you live or work near the border it could be possible sometimes that your phone would connect to a tower in Mexico or Canada and that can make even talking super expensive.

It should be something the carriers should ...
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at&t warns you and "for your convenience" automatically adds a data plan when you use a smartphone.
...
I think it's a huge misconception that carriers want you to have overage charges. overage charges make customers extremely unhappy and upset, obviously. so with that, why would a carrier want to have unhappy customers? that means churn and/or shrink f...
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No...the carriers don't 'make lots of money' from overage charges, because 98% of the time the overages are credited back anyway....

It's a pretty standard situation, a customer is on say a 900 minute plan, uses 3,000 minutes, incurs $945 in overag...
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tomaloma

Oct 4, 2010, 9:49 AM

don't blame someone else for your ignorence...

"obtain permission from customers before proceeding with charges above their normal monthly fees"? so does your phone stop working until you accept that you are going to be charged? what next? when you go to a resteraunt do you have to tell the waiter how much you want to spend total and they shut you off when you reach that amount?
flip mode

Oct 1, 2010, 12:56 PM

Good Good

lets see some more CONSUMER friendly changes to the wireless industry
do other pay-per-use company's do the same? i.e.; elct. water, cable ect. ect. ect.??
i'm all about saving money and doing the right thing for customer's, but people as awhole should be aware of what they use, and should not have to be babysat!
...
Consumers should know when they're being fleeced and be smart enough to avoid it. More legislation is NOT the answer. Metro PCS will let you activate between 2 and 5 lines for $35 out the door each. Wal-Mart has an all you can use prepaid service. ...
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Hey put in bank overdraft alerts too, cause if I can't seem to keep track of my minutes just imagine what my bank statement looks like. Also car payments, electric, water, toilet paper, and a law that mandates I need to take a shower and brush my teet...
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flagrantmisuse

Oct 2, 2010, 2:17 PM

this is a symptom...

of a much larger problem.

in our country people dont like to take responsibility for anything. working in the wireless industry has shown me how utterly retarded americans can be.

are you trying to tell me mr. customer that you have been on this 450 plan for a year and a half and have NEVER known how many minutes you have?

i dont buy it. our government should not be tring to pass into law something that customer's should already be responsible for doing themselves. they are called "self service options" for a reason. to help yourself!!

but we are all too content to suckle at uncle sam's teat!

*steps off soap box*
SUMC_MEAD

Oct 2, 2010, 1:00 PM

It's not our responsibility....

to remind customers about their plans. Here at T-mobile, when you make a service agreement it states in the legal text that "you can check your minutes at anytime by dialing #BAL#" so if you're too damn lazy to dial that or you're just irresponsible enough to keep track of your minutes, then you deserve the overage fees. There is no shock about it....
iJITSU

Oct 2, 2010, 12:14 PM

The irony...

being that when it's all said and done, we'll find out that the Sentator's bill cost the American tax payer $50 million dollars.

Kidding of course.
kpeterk

Oct 1, 2010, 3:40 PM

Unfortunately

Unfortunately many carriers hide fees in the small print and many don't find out about them until AFTER their bill is due. I'm all for this legislation.

BTW - not everyone wants prepaid because of limited phone choices.
This isn't about hidden fees. You don't get bill shock from a $1.49 service charge.

You get bill shock because you were a moron and didn't realize that your Nationwide coverage means no roaming in Mexico or that your 700 min. plan doesn't come with...
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