Almost everyone has faced paying for bills more than they were expecting. Ofcom, UK regulator, found out that as much as 3 per cent (about 1.4 million) of customers has experienced “bill-shock” in the year to the end of July 2012. There are several activities contributing to this: making calls to numbers not included in inclusive call packages, exceeding voice or data allowances, using data that is not included in a bundle, using a phone while being abroad and lost or stolen phones. High bills vary from £20 to £50 and 70 per cent have to pay up to £20.
The regulator warns that if the mobile industry won’t sufficiently reduce customers’ damages it will impose obligatory options to solve the problem. For example, Ofcom advises operators and retailers to introduce roaming financial caps and alerts. It also has asked UK mobile providers to do something to develop and promote “opt-in” measures. These are: allowing customers to set their own financial caps and sending them alerts about usage. To enable this they should introduce some new tariffs. Two operators – Three and Tesco – offer such services but their limited version. However, the operators claim the services are difficult to put in practice because some of them are problematic when customers are abroad. Ofcom will also work with providers to solve the problem of high bills in case when phones are stolen or lost.