FCC Takes Some Action On Mobile Fee Creep

from the lay-it-out-clearly dept

It appears that regular customers aren’t the only ones fed up with the bizarre, confusing and (often) misleading fees that show up on mobile phone bills. The FCC has decided that mobile phone operators need to follow “truth-in-billing” rules that regular telcos are already supposed to follow. Apparently, this means that operators aren’t supposed to break out all the various fees they tack on at the end — but include those in the base price, so subscribers can do a fair comparison on what they’re getting. Of course, even though the article claims that telcos already are covered by this law, they’re some of the worst offenders at adding various official looking “fees.” Of course, the real problem isn’t the operators breaking out the fees — it’s that there’s no way to find out what these fees are until after you’ve signed up — and they’re often subject to change on a monthly basis. The problem is that companies advertise a base rate, but hide the fact that they’re tacking on all this extra stuff. It’s like a pizza place offering to sell you a pizza for $5, but then tacking on the extra crust, cheese, sauce, toppings, heating and transport fees when it’s time to pay. What should really happen is that the companies shouldn’t be allowed to advertise base rates if those rates are impossible to actually get. They should be required to advertise what people will actually pay, including all taxes and fees. As long as they do that, breaking out and explaining how they come up with the fees is perfectly reasonable.

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Comments on “FCC Takes Some Action On Mobile Fee Creep”

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slim999 (user link) says:

No Subject Given

You can also help the cause, if this irritates YOU as much as it did me when I got my first bill from Verizon.
I signed up for a $39.99 monthly plan, and the first and all subsequent bills have never been lower than $44.00.
So, I filed a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission. I certainly don’t expect them to actually, you know, enforce the law … but if they get enough complaints, then Congressmen will take notice.
Their online complaint form is here:

Eric says:

Local taxes...

Well, I don’t entirely blame the wireless companies. Silly made-up charges like “regulatory recovery fees” definitely should be included in the advertised price. However, the taxes are a nightmare to calculate. When local taxes vary by ZIP code, there’s no way the carrier can properly advertise the actual price of the service. Local, state, and federal goverments share in the blame for this “unfair billing”.

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