News by Todd Haselton on Wednesday October 13, 2010.
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The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is proposing a new rule today that could require wireless carriers to notify customers if they are starting to rack up overage charges.
Under the proposed new rule, wireless carriers would have to alert customers, either via text or voice message, that they are closing in on their monthly voice, message, or data allotment.
According to USA Today, the FCC reported that 30 million Americans said they were surprised by overage fees on their monthly bills. "This is a problem of real magnitude in terms of the number of Americans it affects, and also with dollar amounts that are material to families trying to meet a monthly budget," FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski said.
"We want to make sure that competition is based on price, value and service - not on confusing consumers. Most people don't know what a megabyte is. But they do understand when they get an alert telling them they're about to go over their limit and incur additional fees," Genachowski said.
The CTIA has said that wireless carriers already alert customers of impending overages. The industry group is concerned that, should such a rule be put in motion, wireless carriers would only do what's required to meet regulations. That could mean that they would provide customers with less information than they already do.
Todd is a senior editor at MobileBurn and works out of his home in New York City. He covers news for us and also writes reviews. You can follow him on Twitter at @RoboTodd