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FCC Will Tackle Cell Phone 'Bill Shock' 477

MexiCali59 writes "The FCC is expected to launch a proceeding at its Thursday meeting that could force wireless providers to change their billing practices. The agency wants to prevent consumers from unknowingly racking up oversized bills on their phones when they go over their minutes, a situation the agency calls 'bill shock.' The agency released a survey earlier this year that showed one in six American consumers had been surprised by a cell phone bill. The FCC's proposed rules would require carriers to send text or voice alerts before and when minutes are used up. Notifications would also have to accompany out-of-country charges, and carriers would be required to clearly disclose any tools they offer to simplify billing."
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FCC Will Tackle Cell Phone 'Bill Shock'

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  • Re:Or... (Score:5, Informative)

    by mcgrew ( 92797 ) * on Wednesday October 13, 2010 @02:39PM (#33885600) Homepage Journal

    The Washington Post article [] has some additional info (but TFA linked in the summary has some the Post missed).

    I was a victim of "bill shock", but it was AT&T when they bought out Cingular, not Verizon. My bill had never been over $40 and as soon as AT&T took over, WHAM... $150 bill. I dropped them and got a minute phone. I finally traded that for Boost; no bill shock there, it's a flat $50 per month no matter how much I use it.

  • Re:Why stop there? (Score:4, Informative)

    by mcgrew ( 92797 ) * on Wednesday October 13, 2010 @02:45PM (#33885684) Homepage Journal

    They're not mandating that you do anything, they're mandating that the carriers (your employer, from the tone of your post) stop stealing from me. RTFA.

  • Re:Really? (Score:4, Informative)

    by KillaGouge ( 973562 ) <gougec17&msn,com> on Wednesday October 13, 2010 @02:50PM (#33885786)
    I know for a fact Verizon, as soon as you log in on their website, that is the first thing you see. A nice green bar if you are under, yellow if you are close, red if you are over, they also provide a link to upgrade your account if you think you need too. Very easy to use. Also, if you are on Verizon dial #MIN and you will get a nice text (free of charge) that lists all your usage. I can't speak for other carriers.
  • Re:Really? (Score:2, Informative)

    by rakuen ( 1230808 ) on Wednesday October 13, 2010 @03:00PM (#33885974) Homepage
    For AT&T, it's *646#. It even came preloaded on my phone.
  • Re:Or... (Score:5, Informative)

    by mcgrew ( 92797 ) * on Wednesday October 13, 2010 @03:01PM (#33885994) Homepage Journal

    Neither, I wasn't texting then (still don't except with my daughter) and wasn't talking more. They just changed the way they counted minutes. When it was Cingular, the clock didn't start until you were connected, AT&T started it as soon as you hit the green button. Cingular never rounded minutes, AT&T rounded up.

    It's all moot now, my voice, text, internet, email, everything, is all unmetered. I'm also completely anonymous to the phone company; I paid cash for the phone, cash for the connection fee (no contract), pay the bill at a gas station or convenience store with cash.

    They text me to inform me that my bill is due a couple of days ahead, and if I go past the due date they text me again and tell me it's shut off. As soon as I pay it, it's right back on right then.

    I'm happer with them than any other carrier I've had.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday October 13, 2010 @03:48PM (#33886672)

    mine does. i refuse to pay for it. they won't even allow my browser to connect.

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