A cell phone and credit cards.
A cell phone and credit cards. - 
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STEVE CHIOTAKIS: Ever been caught off guard by your cell phone bill? That's the subject of conversation today when the chair of the Federal Communications Commission outlines plans to prevent surprises on that cell phone bill.

Chicago Public Radio's Tony Arnold reports.

TONY ARNOLD: Roaming charges, text message fees, and using too many minutes. If you've ever experienced any of these symptoms you may be one of 30 million Americans who suffer from...


FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski says cell phone bills are out of control.

GENACHOWSKI: We see that the magnitude of the problem is large enough that it requires action. It won't fix itself.

Ellen Bloom says she is one of those 30 million Americans.

ELLEN BLOOM: I have experienced bill shock.

Bloom is a senior director with Consumers Union. She says she wants to see a universal policy for cell phone companies. One that requires them to notify talkers and texters when they're getting close to their limits.

BLOOM: There's a lot of lack of awareness and I don't think that the burden should fall solely on the consumer.

But she says cell phone users need to be more aware of extra charges in their contract.

In Chicago, I'm Tony Arnold for Marketplace