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FCC Suggests They've Conquered 'Bill Shock'
97% of Consumers Now Receive Wireless Usage Alerts
by Karl Bode 09:40AM Friday Apr 19 2013
At the tail end of 2011 carriers and the FCC agreed to new voluntary bill shock guidelines, the agency driven by repeated stories of users facing wireless bills for thousands of dollars (or more). The bills are usually the result of customers who failed to read and understand roaming data rates, and carriers not exactly motivated to make understanding such rates easy. The conditions required that carriers clearly inform users of how much data they're using, something many carriers had already been doing voluntarily.

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A year and a half later and the FCC gave an update on those efforts this week, claiming that 97% of customers are currently governed by usage alerts in adherence with an April 17, 2013 "deadline." The FCC also provided a handy-dandy sheet notating that all major carriers now provide such alerts.

After the FCC threatened to pass regulations on the matter, carriers agreed to cooperate with these voluntary guidelines. The guidelines are not quite as tough as rules passed in the European Union, which allow users to automatically set a maximum monthly expenditure on data that it is impossible for them to move past without express authorization.

Anecdotal evidence seems to suggest a positive impact. We used to see story after story after story about users socked with bills for tens of thousands of dollars. The number of those stories I've seen in the media have decreased substantially since usage alerts became more commonplace.

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n2jtx

join:2001-01-13
Glen Head, NY

What About Better Data Usage Management?

It was reported yesterday that Verizon has been reaping record profits due to their data usage overages. Good for them but what about the option for allowing the user's data service to shutdown at 2GB of usage or throttling it to 100K or so? My sister and her husband share a data plan and she leaves the data turned off most of the time because they have had at least one shock so far. I would love to see the carriers implement a hard cap with no overages. I suppose I will be waiting a long time...
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Heh213

join:2012-06-16
Reviews:
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Re: What About Better Data Usage Management?

said by n2jtx:

It was reported yesterday that Verizon has been reaping record profits due to their data usage overages. Good for them but what about the option for allowing the user's data service to shutdown at 2GB of usage or throttling it to 100K or so?

I believe T-Mobile just throttles connections after they reach their limits, which I find to be a bit more reasonable than throwing possibly huge charges on the bill, even with notification.

LTE speeds can download a lot of data very quickly, if I download some file and it turns out to be bigger than expected I could be in a world of hurt.

PapaMidnight

join:2009-01-13
Baltimore, MD

Cynicism Sense, Tingling!

The cynic in me tends to believe that this self-pat-on-the-back is a load, and about as accurate as Luthor's promise for waterfront property.


elray

join:2000-12-16
Santa Monica, CA

Bill Shock Prevention

Its called prepaid.

AnonMe

@comcastbusiness.net

Two years?

It took two years for carriers to implement some pretty basic alerts and a page on their website, and that's considered a grand accomplishment? They should have been able to implement that inside of a couple of weeks if they were motivated to.

Guess the FCC needs something to take credit for since they've done little else pro-consumer in the last 5 years!
BiggA

join:2005-11-23
EARTH

There shouldn't be the fees in the first place

The notion of managing ridiculous fees is RIDICULOUS.

There should be limits, and throttles put on for data after the limits. And global roaming is totally out of control, there is absolutely no reason that it should be more than $.10/min, $.01/text, and maybe $20/GB, with caps on overages for all of those.

cork1958
Cork
Premium
join:2000-02-26

Re: There shouldn't be the fees in the first place

I suggest that the FCC hasn't done a damn thing and hasn't really in years.

Total waste of funds to support that useless department!!
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