On the 1st of March, Ofcom, the independent regulator and competition authority for the UK communications industries, set out an action plan to tackle the problem of consumers being hit with unexpectedly high phone bills.
After conducting a review into the causes of 'bill shock', it was revealed that as many as 1.4 million mobile phone contract customers were affected in the past 6 months. As a result of the findings Ofcom are now looking to work with those in the mobile industry to address the main issues that were identified.
Andy Steele, Head of Dial Through Services, at cheap international calls company Firstnumber points out:
“Ever since the introduction of data roaming and consistently high costs of calling and texting when abroad, countless consumers have fallen victim to high phone bills that were completely unexpected. As suggested by Ofcom, further clarity is vital in order to educate consumers so that the no other person within the UK has to face an alarming shock on receiving their phone bill.”
As covered by the extensive review into 'bill shock' the main causes were identified as:
Downloading data, primarily while travelling outside the EU, but also when using data in the UK
Using mobile voice services in the UK, mainly by exceeding inclusive allowances or calling numbers outside of allowances.
Lost or stolen phones – where the number of consumers affected is low, but the level of financial harm can be substantial.
The plan now set out by Ofcom to protect consumers include the following actions that they believe will solve the problem of unexpectedly high bills. Firstly, to extend EU roaming regulation, encouraging providers to set financial caps, exploring the introduction of maximum liability limits, and to remind providers to make tariffs more transparent.
Andy Steele also stated:
“At Firstnumber we promote a high level of transparency to our customers by ensuring there are no hidden costs or subscription fees. Nobody should face high phone bills just for calling friends and love ones regardless of where they are in the world.”
Firstnumber support Ofcom by calling on all telecom providers to educate consumers, increase consumer awareness, and achieve the overall goal of reducing 'bill shock' throughout the UK.
For more information on cheap international calls visit Firstnumber at: www.firstnumber.co.uk
Firstnumber.co.uk is an online phone directory offering direct dial access codes that reduce the cost of making international calls from a UK landline. Providing cheap international calls to over 500 countries that include cheap calls to South Africa, South Africa, Germany, France, Italy and many more.
Firstnumber.co.uk was launched in 2004 and is a trading style of Wavecrest.
First Number / WaveCrest, 1st Floor,
4-12 Norton Folgate,
Enquiries: 0870 801 7800