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Should Your Phone Company Notify You If Your Bill Is Going To Be High?

Should Phone Companies Be Required to Notify You For Unusually High Charges?

We've all heard the stories of bill shock when it comes to an unexpectedly huge phone bill — people who have traveled out of the country without a roaming plan, or those who unknowingly dropped a data plan, only to be slammed with a bill in the hundreds, if not thousands of dollars. Yesterday, the FCC announced it was seeking public opinion over whether or not customers should be notified if their phone charges are unusually high. To be clear, this would not extend to customers going a few text messages over budget —it's reserved only for those special case scenarios where large amounts of money are at stake.

European carriers are already required to notify customers when they're incurring large roaming charges or come close to exceeding their monthly data plans, but no such law exists in the US. I'm sure parents would appreciate a heads-up if an over-zealous teen texts too much, and I would have loved a notice before I racked up $200 worth of charges when I was in Canada recently. To support (or not support) the measure and for more details, visit the FCC's website.

What do you think?

Join The Conversation
Akasha Akasha 7 years
I wish they would. When I got my first iPhone (the day it came out) I was not really aware of how big a KB was or how that worked out when going out of the country. Six days after I got the phone I left for Italy and while there I made a few calls and checked my email was very aware of the per minute price of the calls. What I wasn't aware of was the price of checking my emails. I got home to a $2000.00 phone bill because I had checked a bunch of emails and read a bunch of contracts on my phone. Had I known that downloading one contract cost $120 I might have waited until I got to the internet cafe. Luckily for me it was a work trip and between AT&T giving me a discount and my company paying for a chunk of the bill I didn't have to come out of pocket that much, but a little advanced notice of the fact that I was going that far out of bounds would have been a great help.
silicapathways silicapathways 7 years
I said yes because we've had a few times where our bill was high but we didn't know exactly why. socalbeachgal I agree, they're pretty shady!
socalbeachgal socalbeachgal 7 years
If wireless companies made their plans clearer we wouldn't have the need for such a law, but I think it is needed!
sourcherries sourcherries 7 years
I agree w/ above posts. In theory, a good/nice idea, but maybe not so much in practice.
franciepants franciepants 7 years
If anything, i think there should be an opt in service, similar to the banks sending emails when your balance is at a low threshold. Yes it is our own responsibility to monitor our own usage, but it would be a great service to provide to customers.
cherryblossom cherryblossom 7 years
in a perfect world this seems like a great idea..but as one of the people who deal with this issue directly every day i think it is a horrible the company i work for not mentioning any names we are not allowed to discuss any unbilled usage with the customer but they can track their own usage..the reason we cannot discuss anything that is not billed yet is because if its not billed out and its pending we can't do anything about it..then you get a billion people calling in wanting their pending usage adjusted because its unusually high with nothing you can do for them because its pending and not already accepted into the systems therefore you would just be getting a whole lot of angry people calling in before you could do anything about it and not after they get their bill when there is a possibility if it was a genuine mistake that something can be done about it.
imLissy imLissy 7 years
That's awesome that att did that, that's exactly the way it should be. People don't realize sometimes that things aren't free, or that you can't use your cell in another country. Yes, it's your responsibility to know what you're paying for, but sometimes these things are awfully confusing. ATT's website said that if you had unlimited text and you used the built in IM app, data charges for IMs were included. They changed this for new phones and didn't bother telling anyone. I was only charged $4 before I figured it out, but it could have been much worse. You can change the url your IM service uses to get the free data btw. Sneaky.
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