Ombudsman Services, one of the independent consumer dispute resolution services that operates as an alternative to the courts, is asking mobile operators to reduce the risk of ‘bill shock’ from internet services. It says network operators should be very clear about any limits on tariffs and should act quickly to stop large unexpected charges from building up.
The company (formerly known as Otelo: Office of the Telecommunications Ombudsman) is concerned about so-called ‘unlimited’ data deals where additional terms explain there’s a limit and the possibility of further charges. It notes that the Advertising Standards Authority has condoned the use of ‘unlimited’ as long as any limits are explained and don’t affect a typical user.
In addition, Ombudsman Services says consumers must make an effort to understand the terms and the limits of the package they are on before they sign up to a contract. It points out that it cannot act if customers choose to ignore information they’re given. It’s also only able to act if the mobile network involved has signed up to its adjudication scheme; some operators use the alternative CISAS service.
The ombudsman can require a company to correct mistakes, to apologise or to arrange a payment.