Have you ever opened up your mobile phone bill and been like, "What the heck?" Well, you're not alone. According to the FCC, 1 in 6 Americans has been surprised by a higher-than-expected charge on a cell phone invoice.
The Federal Communications Commission wants to impose new rules on the mobile phone industry so that these kinds of "bill shock" moments do not happen. A proposed regulation would require carriers to notify customers when they are racking up a lot of charges.
The FCC-commissioned study found that 30 million Americans have been shocked at their phone bill. Around 33% of those said it was a jump of $50 more than they expected, while 23% said it was more than $100.
Bill shock can come from a variety of reasons. Parents who have children on their plan may be completely unaware that their kids are spending countless peak hours talking to their friends, or sending text messages wildly beyond the plan limit.
Or, as has happened with me, you simply lose track of how many minutes you've talked this month and don't even realize that those unimportant social calls are costing you a chunk of change for every minute.
The study also found that consumers are uninformed about early termination fees. Sure, you sign the contract when you get a new phone, but you're in a hurry and don't even think about canceling at that point.
The responsibility has always been on the consumer, which should be the case. However, the FCC thinks that some intervention is needed, so some changes should be happening to the mobile space in due time.