In 2011, the BBB received 38,420 complaints against cellular telephone services and equipment, making it the number one complaint category in the BBB system. While many of those complaints were due to data billing issues, there are ways to prevent this and the cell phone carriers are willing to work with consumers to monitor and, in some cases, lower their bills.
Don’t be caught with high cell phone bills, by being “in the know” , being proactive, and aware of the data activity in which your child engages, you can save hundreds, if not thousands of dollars, on your next cell phone bill. The cell phone industry has put together different data plans and restrictions that parents may want to consider if their child has a persistent problem of going over their data limit.
The BBB has put together a compilation of the major cell phone carriers’ data plans and packages:
For AT&T users, parents should consider Smart Limits of Wireless, an online parental controls tool. Smart Limits for Wireless lets parents set limits on how and when their child can use their phone, including setting a dollar limit for downloadable purchases. As the child approaches the download limits, he or she will receive an advance warning notification. And once a limit is reached, another notice is sent that the service will be stopped until the next billing cycle begins.
For Sprint users, parents can take advantage of Sprint Mobile Controls. Sprint Mobile Controls allow parents to clearly understand their child’s talk, text and app use habits. Parents can lock their child’s phone on-demand or schedule locks –during dinner, school or late at night.
For U.S. Cellular users, parents can utilize the My Account tool to oversee their child’s data usage. The My Account tool allows parents to receive text message alerts when their data usage is close to the limit, as well as block data to a specific handset.
For Verizon users, parents can set up and manage Usage Controls through their My Verizon account. Through the My Verizon Usage Controls, customers can keep a tight rein on their accounts’ usage. Families or individuals can control wireless budgets with monthly usage allowances on each controlled line for voice minutes, messaging, data and content purchases such as ringtones, games and downloads. They’ll receive free text message alerts when limits are nearing and when they are reached. Once the allowance is reached, there is also an option to restrict usage.
The BBB recommends that customers contact their carriers directly to find out what usage control tools may be available to them. Cell phone plans vary widely, and some tools may not be available with all plans
The BBB purpose is not to act as an advocate for businesses or consumers but to act as a mutually trusted intermediary to resolve disputes and provide information to assist consumers in making wise buying decisions. The BBB of Acadiana works for a trustworthy marketplace by maintaining standards for truthful advertising, investigating and exposing fraud against consumers and businesses. Please contact the BBB at www.acadiana.bbb.org or (337) 981-3497 24 hours a day for information on businesses throughout North America.
The BBB of Acadiana services the parishes of Acadia, Evangeline, Iberia, Lafayette, St. Martin, St. Landry and Vermilion.
Acadiana residents can now have BBB information in the palm of their hand with the official BBB Search app, a convenient, mobile BBB solution available for the iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch and Android platforms. The app can be found at: http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/bbb-search-find-local-businesses/id440014505?mt=8.