FCC Finds That One In Six Wireless Users Have Had "Bill Shock"

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?