Have you ever received that AT&T bill in the mail only to see a huge balance thanks to an extremely large overage of text messages, or your daughters new Android phone went way over her 2GB data limit? I’m sure we’ve all been here before, especially back in the early days when we had 300 text message plans. Well today things are about to change and carriers will no longer be able to secretly sit back while users incur huge overage fees.

Today, before the US Government steps in and makes something more drastic happen the four major US carriers have all agreed to a few certain guidelines that will require them to send data usage, and more importantly, overage notification warnings. So when your kids go over their text limit or they’ve played and downloaded too many Android games, or you head out of country and start racking up the roaming charges you will now be notified and given a little warning. Instead of coming home to a $20,000 dollar bill when you visited Uncle Chris in London and didn’t know you were getting charged huge roaming and overage fee’s. I saw a story where one lady received a $38k bill for a similar situation. I’d freak out and throw my phone at the T-Mobile rep, but that’s just me.

On a more serious note, included in these guidelines are a set of voluntary rules that the carriers have all agreed to. Users will receive notifications and information about their monthly limits BEFORE they reach them – plus, for those traveling abroad, alerts will be sent out showing customers what they’ll be paying if they want to continue using the devices overseas – roaming fees and all. All of the above situations will be handled with multiple notification systems whether it be email or SMS message, free to customers, and these regulations come right from the FCC.

A few user polls recently unveiled more than 60% of customers supported a government initiative to get rid of this so called “bill shock”, and today this is a step in the right direction. While no immediate timeline was given, we should start seeing these alerts within the next 18 months. If you were planning that cruise with the family next summer you still might want to check with your providers just to be safe.

[via SlashGear]