One in six suffer mobile phone bill shock

Ahead of the new EU roaming charge cap being introduced at midnight tonight, Which? reveals that one in six people have experienced a bill shock.

In a survey ahead of the new EU mobile phone pricing caps coming in to force, we found one in six people (17%) who have taken their mobile on holiday abroad in the past year have been shocked by a high mobile phone bill, of these one in four (25%) were charged more than £40 over their usual monthly usage.

Four in 10 (39%) said they didn’t know they had a right to challenge their mobile phone provider if they received an excessive bill after using their phone abroad. Which?’s consumer rights website has advice on how to challenge bill shock and how to complain if the mobile phone company doesn’t take any action.

The roaming charge cap will lower costs for consumers travelling within the EU and takes effect from 1st July. The maximum charge for outgoing calls, excluding VAT, will be 19 cents per minute, six cents for outgoing text messages and 20 cents for a MB download of data.

The new caps however only apply to mobile use within the nations of the European Union.  Worryingly nearly half (45%) of mobile users who have been abroad in the last 12 months said they didn’t know that the price caps don’t apply to the whole of Europe, with 48% believing that they do.

Which? executive director, Richard Lloyd, said:

“Capping EU mobile roaming charges is welcome news for millions of travellers, especially those who have faced expensive charges for data roaming when their mobile hasn’t even left their suitcase.

“Consumers travelling within the EU should now be much clearer on the charges they have to pay.”

Notes to editors

1.    Populus surveyed a representative sample of 2,114 UK adults online between 20 and 22 June 2014. Data were weighted to be demographically representative of all UK adults. Populus is a member of the British polling council and abides by its rules.

2.    Of the 39% who said they didn’t know they had a right to challenge their mobile phone provider for an excessive bill; 29% of people didn’t know and a further 10% said that they thought they did not have the right to challenge their provider.

3.    Ten cents is equivalent to eight pence sterling.

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