12 On Your Side: Relief for cellphone users' 'bill shock'

By: Elizabeth Owens Email
By: Elizabeth Owens Email

AUGUSTA, Ga. -- If you have ever gasped in horror when you opened your cellphone bill, then you have most likely "bill shock" at some point.

Bill shock is when you suddenly receive an unexpected increase in your monthly wireless charge without any warning. Monday, the Federal Communication Commission took action to protect consumers.

After a two-year probe, the FCC has asked wireless carriers to alert you before and after you go over your plan. The FCC estimates nearly 30 million Americans have experienced some form of bill shock.

The government began looking into the problem after it received numerous complaints from cellphone users, stating that their wireless providers never told them when they went over their plan. More than half of complaints involved fees of more than a hundred dollars. Twenty percent of them complained of fees exceeding a thousand dollars.

Monday, wireless providers made an voluntary agreement with the FCC to tell their customers when they're about to go over their plan and when they do go over it.

Although the government has taken steps to prevent "bill shock," it's always important for you, as a consumer, to protect yourself.

Here are some ways:
-Understand your roaming fees and where you will incur them.
-Know your data and text plan.
-Pick a plan that best fits your call and text patterns.
-If you don't use a cellphone often, consider a prepaid plan.

Finally, if you tried to resolve the issue with your carrier and still have not had any luck reaching a resolution, then contact the FCC.

You can file a complaint with the FCC through its website.

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