BBB: Consider using cellphone data limit protectionIn 2011, the Better Business Bureau (BBB) received 38,420 complaints against cellular telephone services and equipment, making it the number one complaint category in the BBB system.
In 2011, the Better Business Bureau (BBB) received 38,420 complaints against cellular telephone services and equipment, making it the number one complaint category in the BBB system.
Many of those complaints were due to data billing issues; however, there are ways to prevent this. Cellphone carriers offer features that allow consumers to monitor and, in some cases, lower their bills.
Children and teens can easily exceed their cellphone data limit playing games and downloading music. When it comes to monitoring your child’s cellphone and data use, there are easy steps parents can take to ensure that their monthly bills don’t come as an unpleasant surprise. The BBB of Minnesota and North Dakota compiled the following tips after conducting a survey of major cellphone carriers in regard to tips on overseeing family data usage:
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. 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.
For more information pertaining to your individual cell phone carrier, the BBB recommends contacting them directly to see what data overage protection plans can be applied to your personal account. For more tips you can trust, visit www.bbb.org/us/Consumer-Tips.
NOTE: T-Mobile did not respond to BBB’s request for information.