FCC Taking a Closer Look at Wireless Billing Practices

Lora Bentley

Much like it did with wireless providers' early-termination fees, the Federal Communications Commission is taking a closer look at the wireless industry's broader billing practices.


internetnews.com reported Tuesday the agency's Consumer Task Force is requesting stakeholder suggestions on technical measures carriers can put into place to alert customers when they are close to incurring overage charges for minutes used or for roaming or other fees.


What brought on this inquiry? Consumer Task Force chief Joel Gurin said in a statement:

We are hearing from consumers about unpleasant surprises on their bills. We've gotten hundreds of complaints about bill shock. But this is an avoidable problem.

He suggests carriers could send text messages to customers when they are approaching overages. The European Union put similar rules into place last year, the story says.


Not surprisingly, the Cellular Telecommunications Industry Association, or CTIA, says the commission is over-reacting to a relatively small number of complaints from customers. Moreover, CTIA President Steve Largent suggests any customers suffering from "bill shock" aren't taking advantage of usage-monitoring services the top wireless carriers already offer their customers for free.

Add Comment      Leave a comment on this blog post
May 23, 2010 4:15 AM Rosie Rosie  says:

An sms warning would be a good thing but will people take any notice? I have put my teenagers on Net10 prepaid phones as they are in another world when texting and cost is the last thing on their minds! Their calls now cost 10c per minute and their texts 5c each and they get $50.00 per month airtime from me and the rest they earn themselves. As well as having to learn to budget their airtime they are no longer having to hear my yelling "get off the phone"! The 300 free minutes that came with thei phones was a bonus too!


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