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FCC Lays Down 'Bill Shock' Proposal

Article Comments  100+  

Oct 14, 2010, 1:00 PM   by Eric M. Zeman   @phonescooper

The Federal Communications Commission today finalized its proposal to prevent U.S wireless customers from suffering "bill shock." The proposal has three parts. First, it wants network operators to provide over-the-air limit alerts in the form of voice or text messages that are sent automatically when a user nears his or her monthly limit. Second, it wants clear warnings sent to users who leave the country and are at risk for incurring mobile roaming charges that are not included in their monthly plan. Last, the FCC wants network operators to provide "easy-to-find" tools that consumers can use set usage limits and review usage balances. The FCC is also asking for comment on whether all carriers should be required to offer the option of capping usage based on limits set by consumers.

more info at FCC »



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This forum is closed.


Oct 18, 2010, 9:06 AM

The biggest thing the FCC is missing is

The fact that the carriers are already doing things about this that result in better solutions.

Sending a text message to someone isn't going to stop them from acquiring overages.

The carriers have prepaid plans and are now implementing prepaid data plans. With prepaid, customers can't have $1000 bills unexpectedely. This is a better alternative then sending a text message that may or may not do anything at all.
it will stop them from inquiring overages..

everyone in the u.s is becoming more conservative so hence the fact they recieve a text message they are going to notice more than taking the time out of thier "busy" (i say that in the most lamest of ter...

Oct 18, 2010, 1:04 PM

Overages are a racket

I understand people should be responsible with their money and understand what they are signing up for...

On the other hand, I don't see how anyone can justify overages.

Here is an example.

Customer A and B both are on Verizon Wireless individual plans.

Cust A has a $69.99 plan for Unlimited Talking. He ends up using 1500 minutes throughout the month, and his bill will be $69.99 + tax.

Cust B has a $39.99 plan for 450 minutes. He ends up using 1500 minutes throughout the month, and his bill will end up being $512.49 + tax.

Customer B has not cost Verizon any more money than Customer A, so they have provided the same service to both customers and made way more money off Customer B (if he ever pays)

After working in a cel...
defenitly agree with you on this..

finaly someone who has the right idea on what the fcc is trying to do...

if we can prevent one person a month from going over that just makes it that much easier on everyone..

Oct 14, 2010, 1:08 PM

Because God help us if we were just responsible...

Should my water/gas/electric company do the same thing?

I think consumers just need to be more resposible and actually take a hard look at the plans they sign up for. It's not even that it is as difficult as reading your credit card agreement. If you are one of those people that just don't think you text that much, but you go over...well that's your fault for not monitoring it...which a lot of companies let you do online. Same with minutes. Be responsible.
completely agree.

There is no "bill shock". It is called nothing more than not wanting to take responsibility for your actions. We are becoming more and more of a government controlled population every day.
I know right, like in June and July my sprinkler system broke and was leaking a lake into my neighbors yard and didnt know until he came and told me, water bill was triple what it should have been, do you think the city should have notified me? Or ma...
Heaven forbid the company acts responsible instead of the consumer made to be the i right guys!? high-five anyone?!?! no? (crickets chirping)
we as a country are a "welfare" nation. I mean the people in this country believe that everything should be a handout and that the gov't needs to set rules and laws that require everyone to help everyone when all everyone are is f*** ups. No one has p...
this is dumb cause the customer should be responsible for their use, not the company. i think its the government steppin a little to far.Your still goin to get the people who cant pay thier bill even if they know they went over thier minutes
JeffdaBeat said:
Should my water/gas/electric company do the same thing?

You cannot compare REGULATED industries (water/gas/electric to UNREGULATED industries like cellular.

I'll look at my Gas bill as an exampl...
It would be great customer service if the carriers did that voluntarily. I do not believe they should be mandated to do anything of the sort. If some do it and if customers think it is a great idea they will move to that carrier. Carriers who don't do...
Your water, gas, and electric company do not charge a vastly inflated rate if you go over a set bucket.
heck lets just get the regulations for credit cards removed by your logic then....go buy something for $550 at best buy for example so when Chase or Bank of America come and reposes your house/2 kids and your kidney after not paying your bill in one m...
you know what would be fun? if morons actually checked their online account usage section regularly. then no one would have bill shock because you'd be responsible! people are retarded and irresponsible for their actions.
I think that most of you are forgetting that the average consumer still knows nothing about what they are getting in to. perfect example is a woman who came into my store last week. she had recently bought a phone from another location and the sales r...
flip mode

Oct 14, 2010, 1:24 PM


that would prevent the "poor" sweet billion dollar corporations who love us so much from conniving consumers out of millions of dollars a year! what ever will the CEO's do to recoop the money needed to fund their expensive lifestyles!?!?!?

Think of the costs to the carriers!!!!

why isn't anyone thinking about the carriers!!!

Gods of Wall Street! Help quickly!!

< /sarcasm > Evil or Very Mad
Coniving? No one is tricking anyone into talking 3x their normal amount in a month. No one's forcing someone to call their home country and talk for hours without thinking their National plan might not cover International usage. No one's saying "You s...
Still not very funny. There are tools in place which allow consumers to check their usage already. It is always someone else's fault in this country. When are we going to take responsibility for our own actions?

Oct 14, 2010, 9:16 PM

Complain all you want--

--about the FCC, but they do watch the consumer's back.
It's not like I can go into Burger King, buy one burger, and then accidently eat two and have to pay $10.00 for the 'overage food'.
Do they? What did they do about the price gouging carriers do with Pay Per Text rates again? Just as a reminder... SMS and MMS cost the carriers NOTHING yet they charge $.20 per SMS and $.25 per MMS. If they can't stop that then they need to sit t...

Oct 14, 2010, 3:04 PM

Since When Can The Goverment Change The Terms On A PRIVATE Agreement?

OMG do you know what kind of precedence this could set?

Two private individuals enter into a signed binding agreement and the government will step in? When no laws are being broken. What will be next?
I agree with you. Seeing the FCC step in is just plain stupid in my opinion. There's this thing called "personal responsibility."

Oct 14, 2010, 7:37 PM

Is there another issue here?

The FCC is a part of the executive branch and therefore has no authority to write laws. That belongs to the legislative branch. The FCC can regulate usage of the airwaves only according to existing law. They cannot supercede it. Unless congress passes this as a law and the president signs it, it would be struck down by the courts because it falls outside of the juridiction of the FCC.
This appears to be an abuse of power by the FCC.
its not an abuse of power. To get a law passed it has to go through many obstacles, so that means it passed those obstacles.
Presidents sign executive orders all the time and I do believe that they are unconstitutional. I'm all for voting in a new form of government. Revolutions do not have to be bloody. The Articles of Confederation government stepped aside without a wh...

Oct 14, 2010, 4:34 PM

I can see why they want to get involved but...

It really is the responsibility of the customer to monitor such usage.

And really, we get enough taxes as it is already. What they are not telling you is that, even though the cell phone companies will foot the bill to enforce this kind of legislation despite the lowered revenue, the government will be increasing their taxes ANYWAY and claiming they are helping.

On the flip side, the cellular companies set a specific value on their minutes/data/texts through different rate plans. I don't understand how 450 minutes are worth 40.00 (averaging out to roughly 11 cents a minute) while if you go over your monthly alloted minutes the rate jumps up to 45 cents a minute, thats 4x the price! It gets even worse when you talk about the assigned ...
If you look at the earnings statements for the carriers you will see that they depend on overages for revenue growth.
Some of those fees you see are cost recovery fees. The govenment imposes fees on the carrier and does not allow the carrier to cal...
the reason the overage fee is so much is because they dont make alot off of the actual plan.. the overage is where it actually is the perfect amount we have to cover all those...

just like in the activation fees. they onyl charge 35 for an activcat...

Oct 14, 2010, 1:42 PM

An Ok idea

Here's the thing, carriers waste a ton of customer service time and credit back a ton of this crap anyway.

Bill alerts would make sense.

That being said, if they also put in the proposal that if a carrier warned you and you STILL went over, you could not ask for the credit back and give carriers some teeth to get that money back instead of just passing it off to collections.

If a carrier has to hold your hand when it comes to usage, then they should be able to actually collect when you go over.
I agree! Most carriers do have a usage calculator, that you can check from your phone!
The Company I work for already provides at no charge Overage Protection. I alerts you when you read 75% of your minutes and messages and the again at 100%. also has plans that have Overage caps so if you go over your minutes you will not be charged mo...
This idea is fine if it is not government mandated.
Transparency would cut down on a lot of the BS on the CS end, yes.

Oct 15, 2010, 12:57 PM

What started it all... ... »

This means someone went somewhere, or did something that created $68,000 in usages. How the HECK can you not realize what you're doing?!

What part of a plan, created by a US provider, to use in the US, with no int'l you the bright idea "Hey, lets use this in (insert country here)! It'll be fiiiiine..."

Oct 14, 2010, 5:35 PM

It just amazes me that

there are so many ways to check your usage thoughout the month! on you phone, online, cust care if you live in the old days, carrier app if your phone supports it, and some carriers already have a text warning in place for certain features...there are really some stupid people in the world and some people should not have a cell service if they cannot even manage there own account..they need to be babysat Crying or Very sad like babies.....whaaaaaaa! my bill is high because i just dont want to check my usage or even take responsiblity.I dont even know what plan I have or i wanted the cheapest plan but its not the right plan and just go over... Rolling Eyes .i need the government to step in and help me with bill! I bet this is a senator that had a bill shocker a...
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