We’ve all been there, that moment when the bill for that great mobile plan you signed up for comes in. Monthly access charges, usage charges, surcharges, taxes, governmental surcharges & fees — the list goes on… and on… and on. The FCC and others call this “bill shock,” while I call it well… we’ll save that for another day. Regardless of how we feel about these charges and fees, they are the services we signed up for and agreed to pay. Unfortunately it’s not always easy to monitor our usage and it can be very easy to incur overage charges when it comes to services like data and text messaging.
While many carriers have apps to help keep track of your usage, the FCC and CTIA have been fighting for a separate free notifications system to warn users when they are approaching their threshold and in danger of incurring overage charges. The major U.S. carriers have agreed to the notification changes and are being monitored by the FCC as to their progress on implementing these alert systems.
Carriers are expected to start sending these free alerts by October 2012 to customers who have wireless plans that impose additional charges for exceeding limits on voice, data and text usage, and to those who will incur additional charges when using their wireless devices while travelling abroad. The alerts are to come in two stages: one when they approach their allowance, and another when they exceed plan allowances for voice, data and text.
The FCC will be updating a compliance table and ensuring the carriers provide their subscribers with at least two of the four types of alerts by Oct. 17, 2012, and all of the alerts by April 17, 2013. The table, which is shown below, will:
- Be updated, at least monthly, as new compliance information is provided by CTIA;
- Indicate each carrier’s provision of the particular type of alert;
- Link to the relevant details available on the carrier’s website; and
- Show the designation “N/A” where a carrier offers an unlimited amount of the particular type of service, making the sending of usage alerts unnecessary.
These alerts are to be provided for free and subscribers will not have to take any action to receive them.
These notifications will be great for consumers who need a little reminder of just how close they are to reaching their limit. I’m just hoping the carriers don’t invent some new “convenience fee” or something to pass the buck back to the consumer.
For more information and to stay updated on your carrier’s compliance, visit the source link below.