FCC Proposal on ‘Bill Shock’ a Step in Right Direction

For Immediate Release

Contact: 

Jenn Ettinger, 202-265-1490 x 35

FCC Proposal on ‘Bill Shock’ a Step in Right Direction

WASHINGTON - On Thursday, the Federal Communications Commission approved a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking on “bill shock” — the unexpectedly high cell phone bills that occur when subscribers unknowingly exceed their monthly allowance for calls, text or data.

Free Press Political Adviser Joel Kelsey made the following statement:

“This is just the beginning of a process to write overdue rules for the wireless market. The FCC’s proposal is a good start, but it needs to follow through by enacting rules that protect consumers from deceptive billing practices and that promote transparency and disclosure by mobile providers.

"For consumers to truly be empowered, they also need the ability to act based on the information carriers will be required to disclose. Subscribers should be able to change providers easily when they feel mistreated or wrongly billed.

"We also encourage the Commission to examine handset exclusivity agreements, which tie mobile phones — and subscribers — to one carrier, and to look into early termination fees incurred when subscribers choose to end their contracts early.

“Mobile subscribers should be adequately informed about their plans, receive alerts when they are nearing their usage limits, and, ultimately, be allowed to change carriers if they are subjected to unfair practices. Real competition in the wireless market is fostered by consumer choice, and putting an end to bill shock is just one way of improving the outlook for mobile users.”

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Free Press is a national, nonpartisan organization working to reform the media. Through education, organizing and advocacy, we promote diverse and independent media ownership, strong public media, and universal access to communications. Learn more at www.freepress.net

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