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April 18, 2013 Mike
MARKS MILESTONE IN EFFORT TO ELIMINATE ‘BILL SHOCK’
Hundreds of millions Americans will now
receive automatic usage alerts when data, voice, and text charges approach or
exceed plan limits
D.C. – The Federal Communications
Commission today announced that approximately 97 percent of wireless customers
across the nation are now protected from bill shock as participating U.S.
wireless companies have met an April 17 deadline to provide free, automatic
alerts to customers who approach or exceed their wireless plan limits. A recent
FCC survey found that 30 million Americans – or one in six wireless users –
have experienced bill shock.
shock is a sudden and unexpected increase in monthly wireless bills that
happens when consumers’ unknowingly exceeding plan limits for voice, data and
text. Bill shock can also happen when consumers travel abroad and get hit with
unexpected international roaming charges.
milestone is a clear win for consumers,” said Chairman Julius Genachowski.
“These text alerts will allow consumers to enjoy the benefits of mobile without
unexpected hits to their wallets.”
October 2011, Chairman Genachowski announced a new program that would provide
free alerts for wireless consumers as they approach monthly voice, data and
text limits, and after those limits have been exceeded. Chairman Genachowski
was joined by CTIA-The Wireless Association.
of the April 17, 2013 deadline, participating members of CTIA are voluntarily
providing free, automatic usage-based alerts when they approach or exceed plan
limits for data, voice, and text, or when international roaming charges may be
part of its continuing consumer education mission, the FCC yesterday held a
Workshop to address bill shock as well as cramming, the practice of placing
unauthorized, misleading or deceptive charges on telephone bills. The workshop helped to educate consumers
about how to protect themselves from both of these problems, and included a
discussion of policies addressing these issues.
the FCC updated its Bill Shock Web
Portal to give consumers at-a-glance status of carriers’ reported
compliance on bill shock alerts. (Visit
the Web page at FCC.gov/bill-shock-alerts.) The Bill Shock Web Portal offers links to
participating carrier websites, meeting commitments from last year’s agreement
with CTIA and Consumers Union to clearly disclose policies and tools regarding
usage balances and alerts.
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