New FCC website makes sure carriers adhere to bill shock notifications

New FCC website makes sure carriers adhere to bill shock notifications
The FCC has announced they they have started a new website that tracks how well mobile carriers are following commitments they have made to notify consumers when they have been the victim of "bill shock". This is defined as a sudden and unexpected increase is a consumer's wireless bill. It usually happens when  customers exceed their monthly cap on wireless talk, text and data. it can also happen from roaming charges that add up when a user is away from his usual pipeline. A recent survey found that 30 million Americans, or one out of six, have experienced bill shock at one time or another. More than 33% had a $50 increase in their monthly bill, while 23% said the jump was $100.

In October 2011, the FCC and the CTIA combined to announce a new program that would alert wireless users when they were close to exceeding their monthly caps on data, voice and text. To see how well these firms are adhering to the regulations, the new FCC website contains information in a graph that is updated monthly. Carrier information comes from the CTIA, which covers 97% of U.S. cellular customers. The FCC receives the info each month and posts it on the graph so that consumers can see which operators have fulfilled the requirements. Each mobile operator must offer a link to the details of the information on its website. If a carrier offers unlimited service of any of the designations, it will show as N/A in the charts.

Each carrier has agreed to notify each customer twice before charging him or her with overage charges. One alert takes place when the customer is close to going over his/her monthly cap, and the second is when the cap for voice, text or data is surpassed. If a customer's handset has been registered overseas, he will receive a notice before incurring additional roaming charges. The alerts are supposed to be provided to customers for free and should be sent directly to them so that a customer won't have to go through a maze of web sites before reading the data.

Check the chart to see how well your carrier has been keeping up with the rules.

source: FCC via PhoneScoop

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