A study commissioned by the Federal Communications Commissions (FCC) in 2010 found that one out of every six American's have experienced "bill shock" at one point or another. About a third said they received bills that were $50 higher than they expected, and nearly a quarter said it was by more than a hundred bucks. The FCC, along with the CTIA and Consumers Union, will try to make bill shock a thing of a past by implementing industry wide changes designed to keep wireless users better informed.
According to eWeek, the new regulation tasks network operators with sending out voice or text message alerts to users who creep up on their data limits. Users would also receive alerts when they're about to be hit with international roaming charges, like a guy who incurred over $28,000 watching a football game on his laptop while sitting docked in a Miami port. It will also be mandatory to disclose tools that let subscribers monitor data usage and roaming charges.
"The goal was to change practices to benefit the consumer," FCC chairman Julius Genachowski said. "Consistent with the FCC's ongoing efforts, these actions harness technology to empower consumers, and ensure consumers get a fair shake, not bill shock."
This is all part of CITA's "Wireless Consumer Usage Notification Guidelines," which will become part of CTIA's "Consumer Code for Wireless Service." Wireless carriers will have until October 17, 2012 to implement at least two of the four notifications for data, voice, text, and international roaming, and must be all-in by April 17, 2013.