Consumers Need Real Protection from Bill Shock

For Immediate Release

Contact: 

Josh Stearns, 413-585-1533 x204

Consumers Need Real Protection from Bill Shock

WASHINGTON - On Monday, the Federal Communications Commission and CTIA, the wireless industry trade group, jointly announced a voluntary agreement to provide wireless customers with overage alerts. The move is an attempt to prevent “bill shock.”The agreement is not an official FCC rulemaking, and the carriers are not subject to FCC enforcement.

Free Press Political Adviser Joel Kelsey made the following statement:

“Wireless phone companies have become expert at reaching into their customers’ pockets to extract more than the regular monthly charges subscribers thought they were signing up for.

“FCC data show that one in six subscribers experience this kind of bill shock, which in a competitive industry would result in companies losing customers.

“But in the wireless industry, where just a small handful of companies have their customers locked into years-long contracts with severe penalties for early termination, there is no incentive to ensure subscribers don’t receive monthly bills that exceed the monthly charges the customer expects and has contracted for.

“This is precisely why the FCC should establish rules, and not just adopt industry platitudes, that will protect consumers from excessive bills. The European Union has taken the lead by mandating that carriers alert their customers when they approach their voice, text and data limits. The FCC is charged by Congress to protect consumers and it should fulfill this mandate to write a rule that puts an end to outrageous monthly cellphone bills that rival the price of a new car.”

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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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