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Notify cell phone users about unexpected charges: Boro pols

U.S. Reps. Anthony Weiner (D-Forest Hills) and Audrey Pheffer (D-Rockaway Beach) this week urged the Federal Communications Commission to pass new rules that would better protect residents from incurring unexpected cell phone charges.

The FCC recently proposed new rules that would require cell phone companies to notify customers when they are close to exceeding their monthly limit or when they would be charged for roaming. Under the proposal, customers would receive a voice or text message that they are approaching their monthly limit and again when they have reached the limit that would result in additional charges.

FCC commissioners are expected to rule on the proposal in December following a 60-day review period.

“Lack of coverage is a problem consumers struggle with daily, but unexpectedly high bills are the most unpleasant part of the cell phone age,” said Weiner, vice chairman of the House of Representatives Communications, Technology and the Internet Subcommittee.

An FCC survey conducted in April and May showed that 30 million Americans, about one in six cell phone users, have experienced unexpected charges. According to complaints filed with the FCC, two-thirds of those who saw the additional charges experienced an increase of $100 or more on their wireless bills.

— Anna Gustafson

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