The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) said today it is considering requiring mobile carriers to alert consumers about excessive wireless charges in order to avoid "bill shock."
"We are hearing from consumers about unpleasant surprises on their bills," said Joel Gurin, Chief of the FCC’s Consumer and Governmental Affairs Bureau.
"We’ve gotten hundreds of complaints about bill shock. But this is an avoidable problem. Avoiding bill shock is good for consumers and ultimately good business for wireless carriers as well."
The FCC’s public notice asks for comments on what differences exist that would prevent wireless providers in the U.S. from using alerts similar to those now required by law in the European Union.
Gurin says that complaints about bill shock come from all over the country and involve all the major wireless carriers.
"There can be many causes of bill shock, including unclear or misunderstood advertising, unanticipated roaming or data charges, and other problems," Gurin said.
"All can lead to charges that people don’t expect to get. In the European Union, carriers are required by law to send text messages to consumers when they are running up roaming charges or getting close to a set limit for data roaming. We’re issuing a Public Notice to see if there’s any reason that American carriers can’t use similar automatic alerts to inform consumers when they are at risk of running up a high bill."