Tuesday, February 1, 2011

A No-Brainer?

Ok, I admit it. My goal in life is to show how no brainers aren't. 

Being notified is a wonderful challenge for a software engineer. You could have an application on your computer that would monitor your usage and tell you how you are doing. I have an app on my iphone called "My Wireless" and I can change my plan anytime so I don't run over.

You might be thinking that most people are too stupid to use such a program. If so, it is only because we are doing too much protecting.

It is the same old slippery slope to tell banks and phone companies how they need to protect their customers. Are we going to tell stock brokers that people need 40% of their portfolio to be bonds? Probably not bad advice, but shouldn't someone have the right to take more chances?

Did I opt to take advantage of the debit card law that we have to be notified if we go over. Sure. If the damage is done I'll use it. I asked a banker a few years ago how come they can afford to give me a couple of hundred dollars  to open an account. He said that it was from the proceeds of people overdrawing their accounts.

I believe that having the information of one's balance is important. But it is dangerous to make this the government's role.


On Tue, Feb 1, 2011 at 2:22 PM, a friend sent this email:
Consumers Union   

Dear Friend,

Forward this email to FIVE friends now!
Tell friends to lend their voice so they can be alerted before they go over their wireless plan limit.

Let's make sure the wireless companies hear us loud and clear!
We have 10 days to possibly change how your cell phone company does business – and save you some real money.

The deadline is looming for consumers like you to weigh in on a proposal to make wireless companies notify you BEFORE you go over your plan limits – helping end cell phone bill shock!

This 'no-brainer' idea could save you hundreds of dollars in overage charges, and give you control over your wireless bill. Let’s make sure the FCC hears by the Feb. 11 deadline from the tens of thousands of you who want to be alerted before you hit your plan limit, so you can decide what you pay.

Click here to send an email to the FCC now – then forward this to FIVE friends so they can do the same!

Overage charges add up – our September survey found that half of respondents who said they were hit with an unexpected bill paid at least $50 in overage charges. Consumer Reports calls the FCC's proposal to have companies send you a text before you go over-limit a “no-brainer that should be a snap for today’s sophisticated smart phones.”

Of course, the wireless industry is fighting this proposal tooth and nail. They even claim it violates the First Amendment because it’s “burdensome” for them to send you a text when your limit is near. Interesting, considering they now text you deals and offers tailored to your account. And the European Union recently started requiring similar alerts, and they appear to work well.

Add your voice to our FCC petition, and then tell FIVE friends to do the same!

It’s going to take a consumer tidal wave to counter the powerful wireless industry. Help us get the word out about this proposal by forwarding this message to at least five friends so they can add their voice by Feb. 11! The FCC will consider consumer input before making a final decision, expected in the next few months.

It’s time you – not the cell phone companies – had control over your wireless bill!

Parul Desai
HearUsNow.org, a project of Consumers Union
1101 17th Street NW, Suite 500
Washington, DC 20036

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