Is Bill Shock from AT&T, Verizon, Others No Longer an Issue?

By Craig Galbraith Comments
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You've heard the many egregious cases of bill shock, but if the FCC is right, we could be hearing fewer and fewer horror stories in the very near future.

The FCC announced Wednesday that wireless companies participating in a voluntary bill-shock prevention program are on target or ahead of schedule in meeting guidelines set up to keep customers from getting an unpleasant, jaw-dropping surprise on their wireless bill.

The FCC teamed up with CTIA-The Wireless Association – which represents all of the major U.S. wireless carriers – in an initiative to provide customers with free, automatic usage-based alerts when they approach or exceed plan limits for data, voice and text – as well as alerts for international charges.

Wednesday was the deadline to meet any two of the four guidelines. All 10 participating companies met it, the FCC said.

“When we launched this initiative last year, we made a commitment that the FCC would remain vigilant to ensure this agreement was effective for consumers. We have, and it is," said FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski. "Today, by harnessing technology to empower consumers, almost all Americans can receive alerts to help avoid unexpected charges, giving them the information they need to manage monthly wireless bills."

Genachowski says the companies are on track to reach full compliance by the next deadline, April 17, 2013. That's when they're expected to deliver overage alerts in all four categories: voice, text, data and international roaming.

Of the big four carriers, Verizon Wireless has established usage alerts for voice, text and data, but not international roaming, according to Ars Technica. AT&T, Sprint and T-Mobile have data and international roaming covered, but not voice and text.

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