Girl Sends 64,000 Texts In One Month; Racks Up $800 Bill

Senator Herb Kohl, (D)-WI
Senator Herb Kohl, (D)-WI

Exorbitant increases in text messaging rates have lawmakers asking the major carriers why the rates need to go up.

Between 2006 and 2008, text messaging rates for the four major carriers doubled from ten cents per message to 20 cents per message...

Those were rates one local family learned about the hard way.

Madison Guyer really likes texting because "it's better than calling because if you have to ask a question you can just straight up ask it instead of having to carry on a conversation and then ask it."

Those questions and answers she received back eventually totaled 64,000 messages in just one month - and racked up an $800 phone bill.  Madison's mother, Joani, says "it took me a minute to get my composure because I was not too happy."

Once the smoke cleared, the Guyers changed their plan because "at first we had 200 messages but we went to where we can do unlimited to all our phones and that has saved us tremendously."

Unlimited plans can go anywhere from $30 to $40 per month, no matter how many messages.

But for those who still pay per message, lawmakers are worried about the 100% increase because even though the cost per message is $.20, some estimates put the cost to the carrier of transmitting messages at less than one cent per message.

Sen. Herb Kohl, (D)-WI, asks "will consumers continue to see similar price increases in other arenas and many other wireless services they have become increasingly dependent upon?"

In 2008, more than one trillion text messages were sent in the U.S., more than triple the amount from the year before.

By October, Congress wants Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile and Sprint to hand over evidence of what led to those price increases and provide a price comparison of text messaging services to other services like Internet access.