Post Tech: FCC weighs alerts for mounting cellphone charges
Tuesday, May 11, 2010; 11:09 AM
One thing my readers truly dislike is surprises in their cellphone bill. The Federal Communications Commission is exploring a way to warn wireless users when they are on their way to higher charges.
The FCC said Tuesday it will look at methods such as text message alerts used in Europe to warn customers when they incur roaming or data charges that aren't part of their normal plan.
"We've gotten hundreds of complains about bill shock," said Joe Gurin, the FCC's newly appointed chief of the bureau on consumer and governmental affairs. "But this is an avoidable problem. Avoiding bill shock is good for consumers and ultimately good business for wireless carriers as well."
In the European Union, carriers are required by law to send text messages to consumers who are getting close to a set limit for data roaming. For many users in the U.S., the costs of roaming outside the network of their carrier of choice or using their phone outside the country ads up to shocking charges on the monthly bill.
The public can weigh in on the plan and then a proposed rule would go up for vote at the five-member agency.
Gurin will explain the proposal in more detail later this morning.