New Rules May Zap Cell Phone ‘Bill Shock’

Help!  My monthly cell phone bill will be out soon, and if you’re like me, it’s always a little surprising and confusing.  My three boys are also on the plan, so there’s usually an extra fee or charge in the bill.  The paper statement I get in the mail is as large as a Tolstoy novel and more complicated and unreadable than a congressional bill.  I call it the art of confusion.  I’m sure the service reps at my wireless provider know me by now because I’m always calling them to explain why my bill went up.

Cell phone bill shock could get a little less shocking after today.  The Federal Communications Commission has proposed new regulations to help consumers cope with those unexpectedly high monthly statements smart phone users get from time to time. This new rule will help take the zap out of cell phone bill shock.

Most of us have one.  So do most of our kids.  Cell phones are a way of life.  So are the bills.  But we’re often surprised by those extra fees that come with talking too long or texting too much, or doing either one from the wrong place.

The FCC’s new rule would require cell phone providers to notify customers by voice or text alert when they’re in danger of being slap with overage or roaming charges.

A recent FCC survey found that 30 million Americans have experienced bill shock. More than half of them saw an increase of $50 or more, but few were alerted by their provider either before or after the bill arrived.

The minutes, messages, and megabytes… they can quickly add up.  This new law will hopefully  help all of us avoid “bill shock” when that next statement arrives.

UPDATE : Our latest cell phone statement came in the mail this afternoon.   It’s 176 pages… front AND back.  Thank God for unlimited texting plans.

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