Have you ever received your cell phone bill and thought… “how did my bill get this high?” Well… you’re not alone. We’ve all heard stories of parents who receive a $1,200 bill because their 5 year-old accidentally called a number in Yemen, or a single mom who gets a $3,000 statement due to her teenager’s texting habits. Well, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has said enough is enough. Julius Genachowski, FCC chairman, has proposed new legislation requiring cell phone providers to notify their customers, via voice or text message, when they exceed their current plan.
Every major cellular phone provider has opposed this legislation, saying the FCC should not be able to regulate their communications with their customers. In addition, the service providers are arguing that they already give their customers ways to check their current usage, and even ways to limit it. However, the FCC claims that consumer “bill shock” is rampant, so this is evidence the current controls are not working. The providers also claim that additional monitoring infrastructure will result in higher monthly fees and “they want to keep their prices competitive.” The FCC argues that if the providers can track those metrics currently, they can easily alert on them with minimal (if any) changes to existing infrastructure.
It comes down to a simple question. If the cell providers are not out to harm the consumer, and the consumer is requesting this service, why would they refuse to implement it?