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Thread: Shocking phone-bill horror stories motivate regulators

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    Re: Shocking phone-bill horror stories motivate regulators

    Yes, now that does seem reasonable. . . it still puts the decision in the hands of the user.

    Even my water company calls me to tell me when my bill exceeds the top average.
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    Re: Shocking phone-bill horror stories motivate regulators

    Quote Originally Posted by Aunt Spiker View Post
    Yes, now that does seem reasonable. . . it still puts the decision in the hands of the user.

    Even my water company calls me to tell me when my bill exceeds the top average.
    I know you can already do it with Iphones and some android ones. Also I know AT&T has a number you can send a text to and it sends you back this information. The next step would be to have it just send you one once a week or so.

    The ideal would be to have an option to put it on your phone's wallpaper, but I don't think all phones are capable of that yet. You should be able to do this using a very small amount of bandwidth, which shouldn't burden the network. (update once a day or week or so)
    Last edited by tacomancer; 10-19-10 at 09:57 AM.

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    Re: Shocking phone-bill horror stories motivate regulators

    Quote Originally Posted by Aunt Spiker View Post
    Shocking phone-bill horror stories motivate regulators | The Upshot Yahoo! News - Yahoo! News


    This isn't the first- or last - story like this we've had.

    You know - you should KNOW WHAT YOUR CHARGES are before you USE your phone. It's not *their fault* - they didn't fraudulently present their selves to YOU.
    Constant customers use their ignorance to try to wheedle out of things that *they decide to do* and then paint their cellphone company (or bank, water, electric) as if they're the *bad guy.*
    Cellphone companies need more regulation re their fees. They have "profit centers" within their business models that depend upon their customers not understanding or not knowing about their billing policies.

    My own experience includes an $850 cellphone bill during a busy month in real estate. My plan called for 3,000 minutes for $60. That's 2-cents-a-minute. Overage useage? 35-cents-per-minute. Holy crap. No warniing that one is over their minutes. Just a large bill.

    A text message alert should be required. And should have been required as soon as this woman's over-charges exceeded 200% of her average monthly bill.
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    Re: Shocking phone-bill horror stories motivate regulators

    Quote Originally Posted by megaprogman View Post
    All of this can be solved by having the phone company send a notification to the user. This would allow the user to make more informed choices. I believe there is already a system in place with most US mobile phone companies to do this.
    This is the perfect solution. Just have a little pop-up box show up before you send the text/make the call/whatever that says. It would warn the user that they were over their monthly texts or minutes or were roaming, or using international service or whatever was about to cost them a ton of money. It would tell them exactly how much they were going to pay per text or per minute and ask them to confirm that they were willing to accept those charges. At that point, users would have absolutely nothing to complain about if they incurred a high bill.
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    Re: Shocking phone-bill horror stories motivate regulators

    Quote Originally Posted by MaggieD View Post
    Cellphone companies need more regulation re their fees. They have "profit centers" within their business models that depend upon their customers not understanding or not knowing about their billing policies.

    My own experience includes an $850 cellphone bill during a busy month in real estate. My plan called for 3,000 minutes for $60. That's 2-cents-a-minute. Overage useage? 35-cents-per-minute. Holy crap. No warniing that one is over their minutes. Just a large bill.

    A text message alert should be required. And should have been required as soon as this woman's over-charges exceeded 200% of her average monthly bill.
    Or a message stating, "you are about to go over your minutes, do you want to upgrade to the next tier of available minutes?"

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    Re: Shocking phone-bill horror stories motivate regulators

    Quote Originally Posted by MaggieD View Post
    Cellphone companies need more regulation re their fees. They have "profit centers" within their business models that depend upon their customers not understanding or not knowing about their billing policies.

    My own experience includes an $850 cellphone bill during a busy month in real estate. My plan called for 3,000 minutes for $60. That's 2-cents-a-minute. Overage useage? 35-cents-per-minute. Holy crap. No warniing that one is over their minutes. Just a large bill.

    A text message alert should be required. And should have been required as soon as this woman's over-charges exceeded 200% of her average monthly bill.
    Yes, I agree - a message advising you of your usage, intermittently throughout the cycle perhaps - or even permitting you a quick toggle-off on your phone once you breech your minutes so someone else doesn't overuse without you knowing (like husband borrowing your phone).

    That is reasonable.

    If we're talking about the bigger picture - of there being more standardized or universal charges - I agree, too. As long as it's adopted in order to apply to all companies - just in the same way they cap off gas-prices so people don't take advantage and hike during a crisis (like when the area has to evacuate pending a coming hurricane, etc).

    But, still - should a person be excused for the overall amount of their bill? Only if they can prove that they had *no way* of finding out or knowing what their charges were.
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    Re: Shocking phone-bill horror stories motivate regulators

    Quote Originally Posted by Aunt Spiker View Post
    But, still - should a person be excused for the overall amount of their bill? Only if they can prove that they had *no way* of finding out or knowing what their charges were.
    To this point, I am almost always in favor of regulations that encourage companies to use regular english (as opposed to lawyerese) in their contracts and to put as much information into charts and graphs as possible.

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    Re: Shocking phone-bill horror stories motivate regulators

    Quote Originally Posted by megaprogman View Post
    To this point, I am almost always in favor of regulations that encourage companies to use regular english (as opposed to lawyerese) in their contracts and to put as much information into charts and graphs as possible.
    Yes - they do right by providing the copororate jargon, btu they should 'translate' as well.
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    Re: Shocking phone-bill horror stories motivate regulators

    Quote Originally Posted by Aunt Spiker View Post
    Yes - they do right by providing the copororate jargon, btu they should 'translate' as well.
    A summary would probably work. (This wall of jargon means in a nutshell that ...)

    If a judge finds that the summary is not accurate, it would probably mean that the contract is null and void would be my guess. So enforcement is already built in.

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    Re: Shocking phone-bill horror stories motivate regulators

    Quote Originally Posted by megaprogman View Post
    A summary would probably work. (This wall of jargon means in a nutshell that ...)
    True - like what they do for legislation. They have their specific version that's all mumbly jumbly and then they rewrite it in a easy-to-follow format (which many legislators use as a reference for their decisions).
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