Ofcom seek consumer responses on 'bill shock'
Ofcom are to investigate unexpectedly high bills, known as 'bill shock', received by consumers and are calling on those who have received a higher than expected mobile, landline or broadband bill in the past 12 months to get in touch. One in sixteen people has received an unexpectedly high mobile bill over the last 12 months with nearly one in five of these (18%) being over £100 more than expected.
Consumers are already protected in some ways, for example limits to charges when making calls or using data when in Europe, but Ofcom would like to better understand the extent of their issue and are running a consultation to gather this data.
A survey carried out of 2000 people in November found mobile phones to be the most common reason for bill shock. Six percent of those questioned had received high mobile bills and the reasons for these were:
- Calls not included in the bundle (19%)
- Calls made to 0845/0870 numbers (16%)
- Customers exceeding their inclusive bundles (15%)
- International calls
- Using the mobile phone abroad (6%)
Five percent of those questioned had received bill shock for landline calls and the reasons were:
- Calls made to 0845/0870 numbers (14%)
- Calls to mobiles (11%)
- Customers making more calls than they expected (11%)
- Incorrect charges (11%)
- International calls (9%)
Three percent had received bill shock for fixed-line broadband and one percent for mobile broadband.
Ofcom's call for comment asks consumers 24 questions about the reasons behind the high bill and how the consumer complained about the issue, as well as the impact it had on them. If you have been affected by this issue you can respond to the ofcom consultation here.