The Federal Communications Commission has announced that it is seeking public comment on a plan that would require wireless carriers to notify customers when they begin to run up unusually high charges for data, roaming or other uses beyond what is covered by regular monthly fees.
If you have teenagers with phones, you know how quickly these bills can get out of hand and how quickly they can raise your blood pressure. How a teenager can generate so many text messages in one month is a mystery.
F.C.C.'s Chief, Joel Gurin, said the initiative was intended to help consumers avoid what the Commission calls "bill shock". Wireless carriers in Europe are required by law to send text messages to consumers when they begin to run up roaming charges or inch closer to a set limit for data usage.
“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,” Gurin said. “This is an avoidable problem. Avoiding bill shock is good for consumers and ultimately good business for wireless carriers as well.”
If successful, such an early warning system should make life a little less stressful. Comments to the Public Notice are due 45 days after publication in the Federal Register. Reply comments are due 60 days after publication in the Federal Register. If you're interested in weighing in on this subject, you can find out how to go about it here.