Half a million T-Mobile customers charged for 'ghost' calls never made

10 May 2011

Bitterwallet - T-Mobile logo - featuredT-Mobile has admitted to Bitterwallet that hundreds of thousands of customers have been wrongly charged for 'ghost' calls during March and April. The error, which was discovered by Bitterwallet readers when they received itemised bills for phone calls they never made, means the mobile phone operator could have overcharged UK customers to the tune of several hundred thousand pounds.

T-Mobile has now apologised and promised to repay customers for the phantom charges, which were caused by a technical issue with call forwarding.

The problem was first brought to our attention last week by Bitterwallet reader Justin, who was charged for two individual calls to mobile numbers. Justin noticed the calls because both should have been included in his inclusive minutes but instead appeared as itemised charges of 26 pence each. One call, to a disconnected number lasted 39 seconds. Neither number appeared on the call log of Justin's handset.

Since then, several other readers have confirmed they have also been billed for calls they never made; in some cases T-Mobile representatives told them the issue had already been investigated and that they would be refunded. Bitterwallet has now spoken with a T-Mobile spokesperson who confirmed the issue affected customers between 31st March and 28th April. T-Mobile says it was only UK customers on T-Mobile tariffs that were affected - Orange customers did not receive the spurious charges.

A T-Mobile spokesperson told Bitterwallet:

"We know that a minority of our customers have incurred small but unexpected additional charges to their accounts in recent weeks. This error is the result of a glitch in our billing systems which meant that some T-Mobile customers wrongly received call forwarding charges when they used their voicemail. This charge was on average 26p, although it varies depending on the individual's price plan.

“This problem has now been fixed. We'll be fully refunding every customer affected by this, a process which has already begun. We’re really sorry and wholeheartedly apologise to any customers who have been affected by this issue."

We asked T-Mobile for clarification on how small the 'minority' of affected customers was; a spokesperson told us it was 'less then 4%'. T-Mobile is thought to have around 13 million mobile subscribers in the UK, meaning up to 520,000 customers have been charged at least once for phone calls they didn't make.

T-Mobile also clarified the nature of the error:

"A small number of voicemails caused a call forwarding charge to be passed onto the receiver of the call. This occurred when these customers received a call that they did not pick up and it diverted to voicemail.

"On itemised paper bills, these charges will show as "divert" or "partner call" on the individual's bill in the "call charges outside of allowance" section and on summary bills and online bills, these calls would appear as unfamiliar numbers (which may be different to one another)."

Customers affected by the problem should expect to receive the appropriate credit on their next bill.

TOPICS:   How To Guides

13 comments

  • Eric
    It makes me wonder how often these "mistakes" happen. Thankfully there are some VERY vigilant people around otherwise these situations will happen time and time again.
  • Charlie
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-13345305 Oh my! You've been mentioned on a legitimate news website!
  • thingonaspring
    i literally just got a text from t-mobile saying they were very sorry, but a credit has been put on my file. hadn't even got round to checking if i was affected...
  • Tom J.
    Your on the BBC :) http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-13345305
  • David M.
    my wife had a refund text yesterday - despite reading this story from day one I entirely forgot that she was on Tmob.
  • T-Mobile E.
    [...] via BitterWallet [...]
  • Paul d.
    I think the issur with Tmobile defraudulently charging customers is a much bigger issue than mentioned here .I was charged for Data charges I had never used for years they added up up to hundreds of pounds,this happened every month,despite telling them and phoning them ,sometimes 10 times a month,but their attitude was bombastic ,always promising to remove them and never doing so.Finally at the first opportunity ,Iterminated the contract ,they then presentented with a bill for over £50 made up out of data calls ,which I refused to pay and they then passed it to a debt collection agency ,who forced me to pay or they would register it against my credit record This company needs sorting out ,prosecuting is the word Just think every incorrect £1 they charge to their oe million of customers is another million for them
  • RICHARD C.
    [...] one, the internet is littered with T-Mobile customer problems.  It was reported back in May that half a million T-Mobile customers were charged for calls they never made which netted T-Mobile another several hundred thousand [...]
  • andy
    I have been charged 700.pounds by tmobilefor a phone that I did not use.i changed my phone at xmas and put the tmobile phone in the room it was not used because I had my new phone they say the bill shands and I don't no what to do,they have threaternd me with the bailiffs
  • f l.
    Iv Bern charged for calls iv not made can you help ad t Mobil denied thus
  • f l.
    Been charged for calls not made t mobile say iv made these calls there is no way that iv made these calls how and where can I get help
  • jessie
    I have been charged for calls I never made for the sum of £105 Sunday 17 Nov 2013 from 7 pm at intervals until 2 AM this was on a Sunday to council offices that close at 5 Pm Friday until Monday. We have a landline for free calls to other landlines,and we would not use a mobil. T mobiles attitude is disgusting regarding our complaintwhere do we go from here
  • T-Mobile C.
    [...] read the BBC’s version of the story here. The error was found by consumer activist website Bitter Wallet. Treat this as yet more proof that the internet age has given razor-sharp consumers the power to [...]

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