Communications ombudsman gets stern with mobile providers
The mobile phone providers are getting it in the neck today from the powerful-sounding ‘communications ombudsman’, Lewis Shand Smith, who is unhappy about the massive bills that some consumers are running up as a result of downloading stuff and streaming videos to their phones and whatnot.
Part of the problem is that the Advertising Standards Authority still seem to think it’s fine for providers to plug their ‘unlimited’ data packages, even though most of them have a fair use policy that is hidden away in the small print. As a result, too many users are being caught out and charged huge amounts when they exceed the fair use limit. This does not please the ombudsman.
He wants more clearer information about capped ‘unlimited’ services as well as advising customers on how much data they’re downloading and warning them when they’re about to reach their limit. Will it happen in a hurry? We doubt it.
Research carried out by Ofcom earlier in the year suggests that 6% of UK consumers received an unexpectedly high mobile, landline or broadband bill over the past year, with a fifth of those saying they were charged over £100 more than they expected.
Data roaming is one of the major causes of big fat bills, with costs varying wildly. O2 charges £3.07/MB when roaming in Europe and £6/MB for the rest of the world, while Vodafone charges £1/MB up to 5MB, then £5 for every additional megabyte after that in Europe. From July next year, new EU laws will mean that roaming data charges will be capped at 80p per megabyte.