FCC claims "bill shock" almost extinct

FCC claims
No one wants to open up a cell phone bill and find out that they have some crazy charges on it, and with that in mind, the FCC pushed carriers to adopt new policies which would minimize "bill shock". The policies were put in place to push carriers to warn users when they were coming up on their minute or text limits, and it looks like it's been working. 

Today was a deadline in the rules where carriers had to have put in place warnings for customers on at least two of four components: voice minutes, texts, data usage, and international roaming. The final deadline is April 17th of next year, when carriers have to provide alerts for all four items. Ten major carriers in the US including all four of the top tier (Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile, and Sprint). 

The breakdown is a bit odd though, because international roaming is considered one of the four even though it is actually 3 items, because roaming should be split into voice, texts, and data. All of the big 4 carriers offer alerts for international data roaming, but only Verizon also offers alerts for international voice and texts (except in Canada). All of the big 4 also offer domestic data alerts, which is enough to meet the requirements, but only Verizon has alerts for domestic voice and texts. 

So, the FCC is claiming that "bill shock" is almost gone, but 3 of the big 4 carriers don't have alerts on voice or texts, which leads us to believe that the FCC's rules may have a bit less to do with the drop in reports of "bill shock" and maybe it has more to do with the rise of unlimited plans. The two biggest contributors to bill shock have been data charges and messaging, but messaging is more and more bundled as unlimited. Of course, this is US only, so it doesn't take into account the 11 quadrillion euro bill a woman got last week, and you can only be shocked if you're alive, so the dead man who got a bill also wouldn't be affected by these policies. 

source: FCC via Ars Technica

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13 Comments

1. Birds

Posts: 1172; Member since: Nov 21, 2011

Well I don't know what to say. I've always had issues with data overages. one time I used 40 gigs in one month. I got grounded a month for each gig I used. LMAO...oh good times... good times. I'll be off punishment in January of 2014....

5. metalpoet unregistered

Yeah so basically the FCC implemented policies to where the carriers are forced to tell us they are going to rob us of every cent we have for a cell bill, my car payment is less than my cell bill for 3 phones!

7. 14545

Posts: 1835; Member since: Nov 22, 2011

Sadly mine is too. My last TWO cars have had payments less than my cell bill. Then they come out with these STUPID capped plans with "2gb" of data, so they can charge me an extra 60 more a month than they already do. My limit is 205, what I currently pay, and anything more than that, and I'll just cut the stupid things off and go to a prepaid dumbphone.

8. eDiesel

Posts: 142; Member since: Mar 17, 2012

Mmmm you can have prepaid smart phones too.

11. metalpoet unregistered

I lost my unlimited data upgrading from my DROID 3 to my new GS3 and i already spent 0.5GB restoring all the apps and stuff i had on the old phone and i still have 3 weeks to go, oh and while i was doing the downloads i was connected to wifi and my mobile data was off so Verizon is literally just raping me with this phone bill.

10. Nadr1212

Posts: 741; Member since: Sep 22, 2012

This is so boring!!!!

12. metalpoet unregistered

then get off of here Nadr1212.

2. QWIKSTRIKE

Posts: 1457; Member since: Mar 09, 2010

Sprint told me they know nothing about this bill. In fact they said they make money from us based on overages so there is no reason to change things. The CS supervisor said that people don't want to be alerted of such issues based on their studies with people who are on pay go plans.ROFL in other words she said people with less than excellent credit don't want the breaks put on how many minutes they are using.

3. 14545

Posts: 1835; Member since: Nov 22, 2011

FULL OF SH!T. I recieved a bill from VZW TWICE in the past twelve months that were EACH 600+ more than they should be. All because their stupid warehouse wouldn't check in my WARRANTY returns. So, the FCC may not count that, but that doesn't mean that "bill shock" is gone. (PS both charges were reversed AFTER I fought for 5-10 hours on the phone for a refund. All that AFTER I had proven VIA tracking numbers that I sent them back. Needless to say, VZW is on my last nerve.

4. networkdood

Posts: 6330; Member since: Mar 31, 2010

Consumers need to be educated on what they are doing. 3rd party subscriptions, international roaming/long distance charges, data overages, etc. Know your plan and realize you can be alerted when there is trouble. If you use a calling card, use it correctly.

6. johnny9000

Posts: 50; Member since: Sep 10, 2011

I know firsthand that AT&T alerts customers when there will be international roaming charges for text, data, and voice usage, this article needs to do some fact checking.

13. metalpoet unregistered

thats at&T what about everyone else?

9. downphoenix

Posts: 3165; Member since: Jun 19, 2010

The FCC doesnt know what its talking about apparently. I talk to people on a daily basis at work regarding bill shock and most everything in this call center does, and we're just one of several centers.

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