**Editor's Note: Click here for a recap of some of the worst cases of bill shock of all time.**
Wireless companies continue to struggle with customer satisfaction, but in places where carriers haven't yet introduced bill-shock alerts, the unhappiness is even more prevalent.
Complaints to the Australian telecommunications industry ombudsman about mobile phones are up more than 9 percent in the past year when compared to the year before, a new government report says. That means more people in that country are unhappy with their wireless service than ever, said the Sydney Morning Herald.
The government office reports 122,834 new complaints – two out of every three – were about mobile phones. A big increase in the number of smartphones being used has resulted in nearly 16,000 new gripes about unexpectedly high bills. More than 10,000 of those challenged the price of their Internet charges.
Relief could be on the way. New regulations in Australia requiring the company's major carriers to send text messages to customers when they approach their monthly data allowances go into effect next year.
If there's a bright spot, complaints to the telecommunications industry ombudsman are down 2 percent overall in the past year. Customer complaints about were up 47 percent, while Vodafone saw its gripes jump 11 percent. Telstra, however, saw a 21 percent drop in grumbling.
The European Union instituted bill-shock regulations more than a year ago. They, like the pending Australian law, require customers to be alerted when they are approaching their limits. The U.S. continues to phase in alerts that are not mandatory – only voluntary – over the next few months, but all major carriers are expected to meet an April deadline that covers alerts for texting, voice, data and international roaming.