It's a scenario we often hear of and sometimes encounter: an unsuspecting wireless phone user opens their monthly usage bill, only to discover unusually high fees or charges for services they weren't aware of. The feeling that this mobile phone user might have at that moment is known as “Bill Shock.” They may feel like they have been taken advantage of and that there is nothing they can do. This has become a big problem among wireless device users in North America.
According to the Federal Communications Commission's White Paper on Bill Shock, the risk of “bill shock” has grown due to mobile devices becoming more complex. The more features, the more carriers can charge you for. It is now up to the user to navigate through every detail surrounding their bills and plans, with very little assistance from their carrier. This can cause a great deal of misunderstanding when it comes to usage limits and knowledge about which features have been activated- and the consequences can be serious. Charges can arise out of anything from data used when the user thought they were using wifi, to roaming charges when the user thought they had international calling features. The FCC reported that some complaints they received were concerning monthly charges as large as $10,000.
Corporate accounts are not exempt from “bill shock”. In fact, some companies may experience “bill shock” at a greater degree because of the vast amount of devices they have. Thankfully, things are beginning to change. The European Union has mandated that carriers notify users when they have reached their usage limits or when roaming charges will be applied, and the US is looking into the same system. Hopefully the CRTC will adopt the FCC's proposal so that bill shock is more avoidable and less common in Canada as well.
Have you experienced bill shock in Canada? or Has telecom expense managements helped reduce these occurences?
For a copy of the FCC's Bill Shock White Paper click here.