U.S. Cellular debuts overage fee protection feature

U.S. Cellular launched a new service that it says will help customers keep better track of their monthly usage of voice minutes and text messages, and thus protect them more from overage charges.

The service, called Overage Protection, will send a free text message to subscribers when they reach the 75 percent threshold of their total anytime minutes or available text messages in a given billing cycle, as well as inform them of when their billing cycle ends. Users also will receive a text message when they reach 100 percent of their allotted minutes or text messages. Existing and new postpaid subscribers can sign up for the service at retail stores, by contacting customer service or via their account online.

Overage charges have long been a sticking point in the relationship between carriers and customers. Indeed, the issue has carried over into the data revolution; earlier this year, AT&T Mobility and RadioShack were hit with a lawsuit from a customer who said that she was charged exorbitant fees for exceeding her data cap after she purchased a netbook with AT&T service.

Interestingly, this is not the first attempt by U.S. Cellular to improve its relationship with its customers. Earlier this spring, the carrier announced a battery exchange program that allows customers to come into any of its retail stores and change out a dead or dying battery for free.

For more:
- see this release

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