NYTimes.com – F.C.C. Seeks Mandatory Alerts of Cellphone Overage Charges

Last October, the Federal Communications Commission proposed requiring wireless carriers to alert consumers when they’re about to reach their plans’ limits — in call minutes, text messages or data use — so they won’t be shocked at billing time. It conducted its own survey of cellphone users last spring and found that 17 percent had experienced a sudden increase in their bill at some point. That’s 30 million people, the F.C.C. says.

The F.C.C.’s proposals are modest, calling only for alerts when use limits are approached and again when they are reached. Requiring alerts would be the least restrictive way for the industry to address the problem. Groups including Consumers Union (publisher of Consumer Reports), the Consumer Federation of America and the New America Foundation are urging the F.C.C. to go further, by requiring wireless carriers to get a customer’s permission to continue service when use limits have been reached. Unless the consumer expresses his or her willingness to continue, the service would be suspended, removing any possibility of bill shock.

Rather than embracing the F.C.C.’s alerts-only proposal as a less costly solution than one that would suspend service, the wireless industry is fighting regulation of any kind. This month, the carriers and their allied trade groups have filed formal objections to the F.C.C.’s proposed alerts.

via NYTimes.com – F.C.C. Seeks Mandatory Alerts of Cellphone Overage Charges. Remembers kids we can’t have the carriers implement a solution that might make them less money.