Mobile phone firms ‘hanging customers out to dry’ over shockingly high bills

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Citizens’ Advice has called on the mobile phone industry to do more to prevent shock bills, saying companies are “hanging customers out to dry”.

The advisory service said 28,000 issues relating to mobile phones and contracts were reported last year and a further 102,000 people sought help online, with complaints including shock bills, phantom charges and billing errors.

The new figures come ahead of World Consumer Rights Day tomorrow, with this year’s theme being mobile phones.

Citizens’ Advice said some customers had been hit with “shockingly high” bills after making calls abroad or using the internet, or as the result of scams or having their phone stolen.

Complainants included a woman who received a £2,000 bill after she used the wi-fi in a hotel lobby in the US.

Her mobile phone operator insisted she pay as her data roaming was not turned off and she did not buy a package before going.

Another complainant took out a loan to avoid going £408 into debt with his bank after a billing error meant he was charged more for his mobile phone costs than he should have been, but was initially only offered an apology when he complained to his provider.

Citizens’ Advice chief executive Gillian Guy said: “Mobile companies are hanging their customers out to dry with shock phone bills. Some people are facing bills of hundreds or thousands of pounds. Others are being driven into debt as they struggle to cope with these unexpectedly large bills.”