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Published on Friday, March 15, 2013

Ofcom explains its next steps to reduce the risk of ‘bill shock’

Last March, UK telecoms regulator Ofcom published the findings of its review into ‘bill shock’ caused by unexpectedly high fixed-line and mobile phone bills. It found that mobile phone customers with ‘pay monthly’ contracts were most likely to suffer an unexpectedly high bill, with the worst cases caused when customers used their phones outside Europe.

Ofcom has now provided an update that explains what it’s been doing for the past 12 months and what it now plans to do. It notes that consumers within the EU will have added protection thanks to roaming regulations introduced last summer and points out that mobile network operators have usually responded positively when concerns about these roaming regulations were raised. In addition, an Ofcom project into the cost of calling non-geographic numbers should make UK charges easier to understand.

However, Ofcom says it still has some concerns and will consider opening formal investigations if its concerns aren’t addressed. It is also examining whether legislation might be appropriate to protect customers from very large bills, perhaps when a phone is stolen abroad.

[Ofcom update (pdf)]

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