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The FCC Sends Signals To Cell Companies: Better Customer Service Needed

Cell phone companies are too often the makers of their own bad PR, and the FCC is here to stop them. New regulations go into full effect on April 17, requiring carriers to provide the kind of service a savvy company would have provided anyway: free alerts to customers in danger of exceeding their usage limits. That will save unsuspecting customers—like these real-life ones—from bill-shock misery.

Data ltd.
A 66-year-old Massachusetts retiree's promotional no-limit data plan expired—but nobody told him until the bill showed up.

High Roamer
A professor of medicine went to China with no international plan. When he returned, his cell phone bill put him in the red.

Mama Drama
An 82-year-old woman tries to keep in touch with her children and winds up with extra charges as a result. Now is that any way to treat your mother?

A Virginia man's plan had a limit of 250 texts per month. His son sent and received 2,000—but not one of those texts was a heads-up from the phone company.

[Illustration by David Cowles]

A version of this article appeared in the April 2013 issue of Fast Company magazine.