Senators urge FCC to keep an eye on wireless industry

Three senators wrote to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) on Tuesday urging it to keep an eye on billing practices by wireless companies after Verizon announced that it had overcharged millions of customers.

Sens. John Kerry (D-Mass), Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), and Mark Begich (D-Alaska) said the incident "highlights the need for the [FCC] to remain committed to vigorous oversight of billing practices in the wireless industry."

The incident reveals "the confusion consumers often experience with wireless billing practices," the letter said.

The FCC has been collecting comments on whether wireless companies present fair and readable bills, and has raised the prospect of making rules about how carriers provide billing information. It will broach the topic in its October meeting. Wireless companies are strongly opposed to new regulations.

Sen. Tom Udall (D-N.Mex.) introduced "bill shock" legislation last week that would force companies to gives customers a warning when they have almost used up their minutes.

Klobuchar introduced a bill last year aimed at forcing companies to be clearer with customers about the early termination fees connected to their wireless contracts.

The letter cited FCC data that shows 1 in 6 consumers "suffer from 'bill shock,'" which means they are surprised when they see their monthly bills.