AfterDawn: Tech news

30 million Americans have experienced "Bill Shock" after seeing their mobile bills

Written by Andre Yoskowitz (Google+) @ 26 May 2010 23:43 User comments (7)

30 million Americans have experienced "Bill Shock" after seeing their mobile bills The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has released a study this week which shows that 30 million Americans have experienced "bill shock" after seeing their monthly mobile phone bill.
"Bill shock" means seeing an unexpected increase in the bill, even if the subscriber has not changed their plan.

3000 people were surveyed by Princeton Survey Research Associates for the FCC, and 2400 had mobile phones. Of those 2400, 17 percent said at least one time in the last year the experienced "bill shock."

The FCC says 17 percent of all mobile phone users in the U.S. adds up to 30 million Americans that have experienced the unexpected increase in their bill.

84 percent of those that had experienced the increase say their carrier did not warn them at all that they were on the verge of exceeding some portion of their plan, be it minutes, texts, or data bandwidth. 35 percent said their bill increased by $50, while 23 percent said the fee was $100 or higher.

The results are part of the FCC's ongoing investigation into "bill shock."

The CTIA, which represents the wireless industry says the real "bill shock" is the excessive taxes and levies that come as part of every bill.

"If the FCC is interested in controlling 'shock' on consumer bills, they should address the most egregious part of consumers' bills, which is the almost 16 percent rate of taxes and fees imposed by federal, state and local governments on wireless consumers," says CTIA president and CEO Steve Largent.

Previous Next  

7 user comments

127.5.2010 13:40

investigate alll those crooks !

227.5.2010 14:35

The only way to avoid bill shock is to get out of the system. Get a prepaid phone. That way you will only pay for the calls you make and there can be no extras.At least that is true for Net 10, which I use.

327.5.2010 15:45

My bill with AT&T is always the same amount. If anything it has gotten cheaper.

$32.14 a month every month

One time it went up .50 and I called about it and it was some new tax for my state. Other than that it's about it. What are these people doing with their phones?!

427.5.2010 23:00

what i don't get is why do they expect the carrier to notify them when they are going over their minutes. you can check your minutes online and by phone for all of the carriers. why the hell can't you use the self-service options. it always annoys the hell out of me when someone calls in and wants to know their minutes. look on line or use the automated system damn you. *hops off her soap box*.

527.5.2010 23:03

Originally posted by andmill11:

One time it went up .50 and I called about it and it was some new tax for my state. Other than that it's about it. What are these people doing with their phones?!
You do not even want to get me started on how annoyed I get with people calling in about a minuscule change like this on their bill instead of just comparing their last two statements to see what changed. Laziness. *shakes head*

627.5.2010 23:20

personally i hate automated answering systems.I'd rather speak to someone in person than have to listen to 10 minutes of recording telling me to press buttons on my phone.I've never had a phone on a plan i use prepaid its cheaper and i dont overspend.seen people on tv having problems with mobile phone it not just americans australians are having problems too and im sure everywhere around the world people are having problems.

custom built gaming pc from early 2010,ps2 with 15 games all original,ps3 500gbs with 5 games all original,yamaha amp and 5.1channel surround sound speakers,46inch sony lcd smart tv.

71.6.2010 11:15

Ok...let me tell you guys what happened when my Sprint phone got stolen.

At the time my phone was stolen, I was travelling for business quite a bit usually for a week at a time (sometimes two...sometimes back to back). Between going in and out of town my phone was mislaid around my house somewhere (so I thought). I kept watching my Sprint user page to make sure no calls were appearing on my phone bill in case it was stolen. I even called Sprint and they said they didn't see anything unusual.

...Fast forward one nearly one month...

A new call tone appears when you called my that point I knew it had been stolen (as I don't listen to rap and a friend alerted me that he tried to call it and a rap song started playing). I immediately activated GPS and found out an address where my phone was (Thanks, Sprint, for sending a message to the phone thieves that I had activated the GPS...completely F'd my chances of actually regaining my phone since once they got that message the phone was never turned on again).

They had managed to charge up $400 in downloads to the Sprint video/music store. I had never once bought any music or video for this phone. I did make the mistake of buying the full version of Galaga after playing the demo, but that's it.

Credit card companies will call you and notify you if there are strange charges to your credit card. Once they got over the $100 mark they could have called my phone and easily found out the phone had been stolen. No...Sprint never offered to help with the charges once I reported my phone stolen nor bothered to notify me that I had even hit the $400 monthly cap on the phone bill. Nice, Sprint.

The kicker...I found out when I reported my phone stolen that no extra charges (or phone calls) appear on your online Sprint bill until the end of the billing cycle. In fact, the Sprint phone representative couldn't even see any of these charges when I called to report it stolen. This is why I didn't see any of these unusual charges during the month.

(Edited to fix spelling mistake)

This message has been edited since its posting. Latest edit was made on 02 Jun 2010 @ 9:42

Comments have been disabled for this article.

News archive