Wireless carriers will soon alert you before overages


Have you ever gotten your cell phone bill and been blindsided by massive overage charges? There’s a change coming in the industry that will make “bill shock” a thing of the past.

Years ago, the Europeans instituted rules that required their wireless carriers to let customers know when they were about to go over their minutes — be it with roaming, texting, e-mail, data or whatever.

The U.S. cell industry fought all attempts to require that kind of disclosure over here. But now they’ve finally agreed to do the same, though it will be phased in over the next year. When it is put in place, the alerts can come by text, e-mail or call, whatever method you specify.

The best solution to this problem, though, is to go to an unlimited company so you don’t have to worry about overages in the first place. But I know so many want to be with AT&T and Verizon. At least now you will have fair warning about overages if you stick with those guys.

One word of caution: A great number of AT&T and Verizon customers have family plans. Make sure as these new overage alert features become available that your teen and anyone else on your plan knows to inform you if an overage alert message comes in.

Finally, when it comes to using cell phones overseas, I want you to take one additional precaution: Disable international roaming and data roaming before you go traveling. That way you won’t have to worry about thousands of dollars in international data charges while you’re abroad.

If you are going to travel overseas, don’t use your existing calling plan. Buy a country-specific SIM card and use it in an unlocked world phone (available used on eBay) instead of your U.S.-based calling plan.

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