We've all heard the horror stories from people traveling overseas, only
to return home to a wireless bill
that's more expensive than their
mortgage payment. You're probably thinking "that would never happen to
me!," but the reality is that it happens a lot more than you may expect.
A new inquiry into this matter by the FCC has found that one in six
American cell phone users have experienced "bill shock," which is
described as "a sudden increase in their monthly bill when they have not
changed their service plan."
All told, 17% of American adults with a personal cell phone said that
they've been shocked by their wireless bill at least once, despite not
changing anything about their plan. According to the FCC, that
translates into 30 million American citizens who have had to deal with
this frustration, and overwhelmingly, these customers were not contacted
by their wireless carrier beforehand to soften the blow.
Based on the numbers, 88% said that their wireless company didn't
contact them after their bill suddenly and unexpectedly increased, while
84% said their wireless carrier did not contact them when they were
just about to exceed their allowed minutes, texts or data blocks. The
survey also found that many cell phone users were confused or not
knowledgeable about the early termination fee attached to their
contract, and just under half of people didn't feel "satisfied" with how
many places they could get "a good signal."
The numbers are pretty interesting, but hardly shocking. A lot of this
fine print is never explained to consumers, and many never bother to
take the initiative and investigate on their own. Have you ever
experienced bill shock? More than once?