Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Government Shock Absorbers

Hey folks, here's "big intrusive government" going and doing things again, like getting wireless carriers to actually warn consumers when they are over their plan limits in order to prevent folks from running up hundreds if not thousands in charges.

The vast majority of America's wireless carriers came to terms with the Federal Communications Commission on Monday, agreeing to alert consumers when they are approaching their monthly limits for voice, data and text messages, or when they are about to incur international roaming charges. Mobile providers will send a second alert when customers reach those limits.

The news comes after a nearly two-year FCC probe into "bill shock" -- the sudden, unexpected increase in monthly wireless charges without a change to a customer's plan. The regulator estimates about 30 million Americans have experienced some form of bill shock.

A study that the FCC conducted last year found that 84% of Americans who experienced bill shock said they were not tipped off by their wireless company when they were about to exceed their limits, and 88% said they heard nothing from their provider after they went over.
There's the real "shock".  Your cell phone company?  If you went over your plan minutes and started to incur additional charges, they wouldn't inform you.  They would simply let you run up the tab and then hit you with a massive bill.  Nearly nine in ten times they would leave you to hang.

Now?  Gosh, it's like government is actually helping the people under President Obama.  I can't wait to see how conservatives spin wireless companies ripping off Grandma because she didn't understand the plan you sold her or Billy sending 3000 text messages in a month without an unlimited text plan is bad for the economy, and how telling people they are over their limit for the month is European soshuleesm.

The bad news?  We're supposed to trust the wireless providers that they'll actually do this.  It's voluntary.  But the FCC promises if the cell carriers don't play fair, they might make it mandatory.  Maybe.  Some day.

Of course the second the GOP gets control of the FCC, this will of course cease to be enforced period.

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