LOS ANGELES -- Stung by soaring complaints about confusing phone bills and unauthorized charges, federal and state regulators said Monday they are developing tough new requirements for clear and accurate phone bills.
The proposed consumer protection rules, nicknamed by some the "no surprises" initiative, is a work-in-progress being hammered out by officials from 11 states and already has won strong support from the Federal Communications Commission.
"We get many, many thousands of complaints every year from consumers who feel that they are being taken advantage of in the (phone service) marketplace," said FCC Chairman William Kennard, who was in Los Angeles on Monday for a meeting of the National Association of Regulatory Commissioners, or NARUC. "We have to put the industry on notice that at the state and federal level we're very, very concerned ... we're launching an offensive."
The first step in that offensive came from Kennard, who pushed through a new "truth-in-billing" initiative at the FCC that he says "directs phone companies to dislose what charges they're asking consumers to pay for."
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