Mobile phone operators are to restrict customer spending 19/03/2012

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Posted in:Corporate and Commercial, Retail|March 19, 2012 | Join the mailing list

Ofcom have stepped in to assist mobile phone users who regularly receive unexpectedly high bills.

Ofcom have advised mobile phone companies to put in place restrictions so that users are aware of how much they are spending and thus avoid surprisingly high phone bills. This often occurs when people use their mobile phones abroad without being fully aware
of the network charges for doing so. Ofcom are aiming for increased transparency of companies’ data charges in order for customers to be more informed. Other changes include introducing an opt-in measure where some tariffs would allow customers to set up a
limit on spending, or receive alerts regarding their usage each month. Ofcom also want to introduce the existing European cut-off limits on phones, which is €50 a month, to apply worldwide, when "roaming" abroad. Under this policy, customers also receive a
notification when they have reached 80% and 100% of this limit.

Ofcom also discussed setting limits on mobile phones which have been lost or stolen as customers are often left with the bill after thieves have run up considerable costs.

Ofcom’s involvement and recommendations have been welcomed by consumer association Which?.

Although currently this is only voluntary, Ofcom will be keeping a close eye on this issue and could force companies to comply with their recommendations through the introduction of new rules and regulations.

There are over one million customers who receive unexpectedly high bills. With the general consensus that most people are not aware of their operator’s costs for using their mobile phone abroad and in a time of being money conscious, Berg are sure this will
be a welcomed practice across the mobile phone customer base. That said, given the voluntary footing, we are unsure about the level of implementation by the network providers over the next few months.

To discuss how we can provide further advice in connection with these issues, please contact Keith Kennedy, a Partner in our Corporate Team, by email to or alternatively you can call Keith on 0161 833 9211.

The information and opinions contained in this article are not intended to be comprehensive or to provide legal advice. No responsibility for this article’s (or the above link’s) accuracy or correctness is assumed by Berg or any
of its partners or employees. Professional legal advice should be obtained before taking, or refraining from taking, any action as a result of the contents of this article.

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