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What is Cell Phone Bill Shock?

Back in October 2010 the Federal Communications Commission instituted a plan to prevent bill shock. As a prepaid cell phone customer you may ask what the heck is bill shock?

Bill shock, as defined by the FCC is a “sudden and unexpected increase in monthly [cell phone] bills that is caused by a change in service plans.”

One of the morning news programs recently ran a piece on the topic of bill shock which included users complaining about cell phone bills in excess of $18,000 and $30,000 for one month’s worth of charges. Those would be considered two very severe cases of bill shock.

How to Avoid Bill Shock

If you go to the FCC website, they list a number of ways to avoid bill shock. Their list includes things such as understanding your own calling pattern to help determine the best cell phone plan for you, understanding cell phone roaming charges, get familiar with your text and data options and a few other useful tips.

Bill Shock

They almost get it right when they offer the following tip:

If you are an infrequent phone user, consider a pre-paid plan. Because you “pre-pay” for all your minutes, these plans make it impossible to go over your set limit.

I say ‘almost’ get it right because they need to drop the wording “If you are an infrequent phone user.” It doesn’t make a difference if you are an infrequent user or you keep a phone attached to your ear 24/7. With the evolution of prepaid plans some now include unlimited talk, text and data. Not only have the plans evolved, public opinion of prepaid phones has softened. They are now just acceptable, if not a better alternative to the traditional contract plan.

The one thing you’ll never undergo with a prepaid plan is bill shock. You pay for what you get and you get what you paid for. That’s it.

Bill Shock, Debt and Trans Fats

Bill shock should be placed in the same category as debt, trans fats and other avoidable things that are not good for us. If consumers only purchased items when they had the money to pay for it, they would avoid debt. If we purchased whole foods and stayed away from processed foods we wouldn’t have to worry about trans fats. If you purchase a prepaid cell phone plan you will never suffer from bill shock. The choices are ours to make.  Make them wisely.

About the author: LaForey is a parent and a freelance writer who has done quite a bit of research on prepaid cell phones.