Congress Pushes AT&T, Verizon on Bill Shock

A new bill in the U.S. Senate would force AT&T, Verizon and other wireless carriers to send you a message either by e-mail or text if youre approaching the limits of your monthly service plan. Sen. Tom Udall of New Mexico introduced the bill this week, saying that too many Americans have had to deal with bill shock.”

Specifically, the measure requires the telcos to notify you if youve used 80 percent of your allotted minutes, texts, etc. in a given month. It also demands that the carrier get your permission before charging for services outside your regular plan. The FCC, which plans to meet later this month to start writing rules about usage alerts, says a whopping one in six mobile customers in the U.S. has reportedly experienced monthly fees that were unexpected.

As expected, Udalls bill is not drawing rave reviews from such groups as wireless association CTIA, which, in a statement, according to Bloomberg, said it could lead to confusion and frustration.”

Of course, this raises the debate over whether mobile customers need their hands held. While the statistics show they do, many argue that customers who sign a contract should be responsible for knowing their limits and not exceeding them. Of course, if youve been on the ugly end of a phone bill like this family experienced, you probably feel differently.

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