What happens when you reach the cap?

21Apr11

Lately, it seems like more and more services that you’d expect to be unlimited — such as home Internet service and mobile data plans — are being sold with a cap on monthly usage. Regardless of whether capped plans will work out in the long run, this trend raises an important question for potential customers: what happens when you reach the cap?

From what I’ve seen, there are three possible outcomes after you hit the monthly allowance:

– You’re completely cut off for the remainder of the billing period.

– You’re still allowed to use the service, but at a reduced speed.

– There’s no change in your access or speed, but they bill you for every kilobyte of usage beyond the cap.

No matter which option you think is best, the focus should be on conveying the terms to customers in a foolproof manner. Whenever your marketing materials mention the cap, you should provide a short explanation like the ones above. That way, even if customers have their reasons for disliking capped services, at least they’ll know what to expect if they go beyond the allotted usage.



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