The Federal Communications Commission is examining ways consumers and wireless providers can avoid cell phone "bill shock" problems.
Bob St. Germain didn't know whether he was more shocked by the $18,000 Verizon Wireless bill or by the firm's forgiveness of the bill.
St. Germain's 22-year-old son racked up the charges over a six-week period in 2006 after a promotional plan expired. Cell phone "bill shock" has been an endemic problem among consumers for years, and the Federal Communications Commission earlier this month said it is examining ways for carriers to alert consumers when their bills reach high levels.
The St. Germain bill stood out because it was so high. Verizon Wireless said it cut the bill in half to $9,000, but that didn't satisfy St. German, who lives in Dover, Mass. Verizon reported it has deemed the bill "uncollectable" with the result that St. Germain doesn't owe anything.
"Bills of this nature are exceptionally rare given our policy of clear disclosure of price plan details at the point of sale and through confirmation letters, the customer's ability to change price plans at any time without fees or extensions, and the many customer tools available for monitoring and managing voice data usage," said a Verizon spokesman, according to media reports. "This combination of transparency, flexibility, and technology serves our customers very well."
The issue of "bill shock" is being examined by the FCC's consumer and governmental affairs bureau and it is looking at the way Europeans help cell phone users avoid receiving an unanticipated bill.
"We've gotten hundreds of complaints about bill shock," said the CGB's chief Joel Gurin earlier this month. But this is an avoidable problem." One method under consideration is based on a texting model where cell phone subscribers will receive a text message on their phones when their bill reaches a high level.
InformationWeek Elite 100Our data shows these innovators using digital technology in two key areas: providing better products and cutting costs. Almost half of them expect to introduce a new IT-led product this year, and 46% are using technology to make business processes more efficient.
The UC Infrastructure TrapWorries about subpar networks tanking unified communications programs could be valid: Thirty-one percent of respondents have rolled capabilities out to less than 10% of users vs. 21% delivering UC to 76% or more. Is low uptake a result of strained infrastructures delivering poor performance?
InformationWeek Tech Digest, Nov. 10, 2014Just 30% of respondents to our new survey say their companies are very or extremely effective at identifying critical data and analyzing it to make decisions, down from 42% in 2013. What gives?