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Mobile Phone Operator Lobbyists Say No Laws Necessary To Prevent 'Bill Shock'

from the because-it-doesn't-happen? dept

For nearly a decade we've been covering stories of people getting bill shock when mobile phone bills show up that are in the tens of thousands of dollars. The issue, of course, is that mobile operators do a dreadful job informing their customers of the fees they may be facing. And, while it would be quite easy for the providers to set up some kind of alert (or credit card-style temporary block) if a bill starts to go outside of the "norm," none of the mobile operators seem interested in doing this.

Over in the UK they've put in place laws to prevent such ridiculous bill shock situations, and regulators in the US are considering the same... but the lobbyists for the mobile operators, CTIA, are protesting that such rules are "unnecessary." That would be a lot more convincing if people didn't send in stories about ridiculous bills every few weeks. CTIA also claims that "Members have adopted internal practices and procedures to remediate billing concerns directly with their customers," but in practice those "remediation" practices seem to basically be "wait until the press starts paying attention, and then finally back down."
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Filed Under: bill shock, regulations
Companies: ctia

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  1. icon
    kryptonianjorel (profile), 9 Jul 2010 @ 6:42am

    I'm mixed on this matter. I don't want to end up with a cell phone bill that is $1,000 but at the same time, I also know not to use my data plan in Europe without checking the pricing first. Ignorance is no excuse; call your phone company and do a price check on anything and everything if you have any questions, because when the bill comes around, there is no excuse for ignorance. There are some exceptions (such as the famous vzw .002 dollars/cents case) but I believe people need to take responsibility for the services they use (no matter how outrageous the pricing plans are)

    A lot of times we here stories of kids racking up these bills. If the kid is not responsible enough to use a cell phone within the plan that the parent has selected for him/her, then he/she should not be getting a cell phone. Some kids may not have been told whats extra and what isn't, and any bill they rack up is the parent's fault for not properly instructing them as to what they're allowed to do with the phone.

    Anyway, I think it all boils down to responsibility. Should there be laws to prevent irresponsible behavior? No. Would it be nice if the mobile phone operators sent bill warnings? Yes. In the end, its about cost and profits. The phone companies don't want to lose the profits from the runaway bills, and they don't want to set up or run a system that alerts users to a potentially runaway bill.

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