Bill Shock: Verizon Wireless Upsets the Wrong Man

Verizon Wireless might chalk this one up to bad luck.

The carriers system that is designed to alert customers when theyre about to incur overage charges apparently isnt foolproof. If its going to fail, the last person you probably want impacted is someone who works for Consumer Reports. But thats exactly what happened.

CR reporter Jeff Blyksal got a bill that included $70 in overages, but he never got a call or text message warning him that he was getting close to his limits, as had been promised when he signed up for service. Blyskal told San Franciscos KGO-TV he finds it ironic that the carrier has no problem reaching him regularly with promotions for new devices, but cant come through with simple communication about pending overages. Verizon told the reporter that, in his case, the alert system failed for a number of reasons, and encouraged customers to monitor their usage online or via the companys automated phone system.

Blyksals issue is part of a much bigger problem both in the U.S. and abroad. Youve heard the horror stories of bill shock with some people opening up their mail to see they owe thousands of dollars in overage charges. While the debate rages on as to whether its the consumers responsibility to read the fine print, the carriers duty to let its customers know when bill shock is about to happen, or both governments are taking steps to get involved. The FCC is mulling whether to make overage alerts mandatory. The European Union has already adopted similar standards.

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