FCC, Wireless Carriers Agree to New Overage Alert System

October 17, 2011 -

The Federal Communications Commission and the nation's wireless carriers have hammered out an agreement that will have wireless operators notifying customers when they are nearing their monthly limits on usage for voice, text, or data services. The FCC estimates that tens of millions of wireless phone subscribers are hit with overage charges each year; their data is based on their own studies on the issue, as well as data from the Government Accountability Office and private research firms.

The new agreement covers all the members of the industry’s largest trade group (CTIA — the Wireless Association), which means that it covers more than 300 million wireless accounts, according to the FCC chairman Julius Genachowski.

"I appreciate the mobile phone companies’ willingness to work with my administration and join us in our overall and ongoing efforts to protect American consumers by making sure financial transactions are fair, honest and transparent," said President Obama is a statement.

Steve Largent, president of CTIA said that this new deal fulfilled a government pledge without imposing new regulations.

A 2010 study by the FCC found that approximately one in six mobile users had experienced what they call "bill shock," with 23 percent of users facing unexpected charges of $100 or more for overages. Another FCC report found that around 20 percent of bill shock complaints it received during the first half of 2010 were for $1,000 or more in overage charges.

Even unlimited data plans often have a caps limiting downloads each month to a certain number of megabytes. Last October, the FCC pointed out the case of a 66-year-old retiree from Dover, Mass., who received an $18,000 bill after the promotional period for his unlimited data plan expired without warning.

While companies have the option to deliver alerts by text or voice, they must be free to customers and automatic. Consumers can also opt out of the service if they so choose. At least two of the four types of alerts must be started by carriers within 12 months, and all alerts must begin within 18 months, according to the agreement. The companies also agreed to promote and publicize tools so that consumers can monitor their own usage. The FCC is working with the nonprofit Consumers Union to track wireless carriers’ compliance.

This new agreement hopes to make that sort of event a thing of the past by notifying customers when overages occur. How carriers will implement this plan remains to be seen but the FCC expects them to have some sort of system in place within a year.

Source: New York Times


Comments

Re: FCC, Wireless Carriers Agree to New Overage Alert System

I'm fairly sure there's a loophole in here somewhere.

Re: FCC, Wireless Carriers Agree to New Overage Alert System

my wireless carrier already does this. In fact i've had 2 carriers in my adult life, and both did this.

I thought it was standard to be upfront and honest with your customers. Apparently if you live in the US you need government controls just to play fair.

Re: FCC, Wireless Carriers Agree to New Overage Alert System

Nope. You have to have the government asks and then hope:

"I appreciate the mobile phone companies’ willingness to work with my administration and join us in our overall and ongoing efforts to protect American consumers by making sure financial transactions are fair, honest and transparent,"

 
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MattsworknameThere was a time in america when we needed unions and they served a good purpose, but that time hasnt been tbe case for about 20 years or more. The same could be said of our current system for teachers in higher educatoin,but thats a whole nother story07/07/2015 - 10:22pm
TechnogeekIn large part, though, that's an extension of the level of unjust deference given to police in general. Kind of hard to find any real grievances to defend against when the organizational culture views "complains about coworker" as worse than "murderer".07/07/2015 - 8:45pm
TechnogeekThat's a police union.07/07/2015 - 8:43pm
TechnogeekNo, police unions are worse by far. Imagine every negative stereotype about unions, then add "we can get away with anything".07/07/2015 - 8:43pm
Goth_SkunkeZeek: No, I do not agree they are union members.07/07/2015 - 7:48pm
E. Zachary KnightTeachers unions are just as bad as police unions, except of course you are far less likely to be killed by a teacher on duty than you are a cop. But they also protect bad teachers from being fired.07/07/2015 - 6:29pm
E. Zachary KnightGoth, so you agree they are still union members. Thankfully we have a first ammendment that protects people from being forced to join groups they don't support (in most cases any way.)07/07/2015 - 6:27pm
E. Zachary KnightAh, police unions. The reason why cops can't get fired when they beat a defenseless mentally ill homeless person to death. Or when they throw a grenade into a baby's crib. Or when theykill people they were called in to help not hurt themselves.07/07/2015 - 6:26pm
Goth_SkunkeZeek: Non-union employees have no right to attend meetings or union convention/AGM, or influence policy. The only time they get to vote is whether or not to strike.07/07/2015 - 6:24pm
Infophile(cont'd) about non-union police officers being given hell until they joined the union.07/07/2015 - 4:58pm
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TechnogeekTeachers' unions? State legislatures. UAW? Just look at GM's middle management.07/07/2015 - 3:05pm
TechnogeekIn many ways it seems that the worse a union tends to behave, the worse that the company's management has behaved in the past.07/07/2015 - 3:02pm
james_fudgeCharity starts at home ;)07/07/2015 - 2:49pm
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E. Zachary KnightGoth, if Union dues are automatically withdrawn, then there is no such thing as a non-union employee.07/07/2015 - 2:38pm
Goth_Skunka mutually agreed upon charity instead.07/07/2015 - 2:33pm
Goth_Skunkyou enjoy the benefits of working in a union environment. If working in a union is against your religious beliefs or just something you wholeheartedly object to, dues will still be deducted from your pay, but you can instruct that they be directed towards07/07/2015 - 2:33pm
 

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