Skip to main content

Meet Shock... Bill Shock

If your parents have ever met Bill Shock, you'd probably know.

Mr. Shock isn't a who — it's a what: bill shock is what happens when your family cell phone bill is much higher than it's supposed to be. Or than your parents thought it would be. For example, it can happen if your plan limits text messages to 500 a month — and you send (and get) that many in a week.

Did you know?

Girls between ages 14 and 17 text more than any other group of kids, averaging 100 messages a day. SOURCE: Teens and Mobile Phones, Pew Internet and American Life Project, April 2010.

There have been news stories about parents opening cell phone bills and seeing a balance of $18,000. That's not a typo. Eighteen. Thousand. Dollars. OK, maybe that doesn't happen most of the time. But imagine having to explain a $500 cell phone bill because you went a little over on the texting.

What can you do about bill shock? Most phones or carriers have a way to track the number of messages you've sent — and the number of minutes you've used. Check your phone's manual, or the carrier's website, to find out how, and then check it! There may be a way to turn off service when you reach your monthly maximum.

Search Terms