Mobile phone service providers have been told to let their contract customers be more aware of their phone expenditure. Under new measures set out by phone industry watchdog Ofcom, individual mobile phone users will be able to control how much they spend. The move is expected to combat so-called “bill shock”.
Research reveals as many as 1.4m contract customers may have received unexpectedly high bills in the past six month period. This is explained by a lack of awareness regarding costs when travelling outside the EU, downloading data and calling numbers that are not included in call allowances. Customers may also suffer if a phone is lost or stolen and used by a person who is not its rightful owner.
Ofcom is requesting mobile users be allowed to set a cap on their personal spend. The proposed “opt in” or “opt out” service would also mean customers receive alerts about their usage. Existing EU regulations require operators to cap a user’s roaming bill at 50 Euros when travelling within the EU. They also set out that customers be sent an alert when they reach 80 per cent of that fee, and again when they hit 100 per cent. Ofcom hopes to extend these regulations world-wide.
Currently, consumers can be liable to pay off the full amount of a huge bill if a phone is stolen and used by thieves. The regulator has stated operators should advertise more clearly the measures people can take to avoid such situations.
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