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CU praises FCC proposal for cell phone “bill shock”

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Consumers Union Praises FCC Proposal Aimed at Cell Phone “Bill Shock”

WASHINGTON — Consumers Union, the nonprofit publisher of Consumer Reports magazine, today praised a proposal by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to require wireless phone companies to notify customers when they have reached their monthly limits for voice, text, and data services.
Ellen Bloom, the senior director of federal policy for Consumers Union, said the proposed rule is welcome news for consumers who have experienced cell phone “bill shock.”
“People are being blind-sided by unexpected charges on their wireless phone bill,” Bloom said. “Smartphones have become much more sophisticated, so we ought to have a more sophisticated way to tell people they’re about to go over their limits.”
Bloom said a Consumer Reports survey conducted in September found about one in five adults had received a bill for wireless phone service within the past 12 months that was significantly higher than they expected. The online survey included more than 58,000 subscribers to Consumer Reports Online and was conducted by the Consumer Reports National Research Center.
“The FCC’s proposal would help consumers by requiring wireless companies to warn their customers before and when they reach their limits. You would get a notice, such as a voice or text message, when you’re coming up on your limit. Consumers need better tools to keep track of their accounts, and this proposal is a simple, effective solution.”
Bloom, who heads Consumers Union’s office in Washington, will speak today at a forum on cell phone “bill shock” with FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski at noon ET.
Contact: David Butler, 202-462-6262