Bill shock - unexpected charges and high bills

As people become increasingly reliant on their mobiles, unexpected charges and high bills – otherwise known as bill shock - are becoming serious problems for consumers. As well as the immediate financial impact of unexpected costs and the associated inconvenience, there is also a risk that people become overly cautious of using their phones for data in case they incur extra charges, so aren’t benefitting fully from the opportunities that may genuinely be available. Consumers can also risk financial hardship if their mobiles are lost or stolen – high bills can be generated in the short space of time between a theft and reporting the loss, for which the consumer remains liable.

Specific Objective

To help achieve a consumer-friendly response to dealing with the growing problem of bill shock, the Panel would like to see industry and other stakeholders develop further information and aids to give consumers better control over their spending and alert them when they are likely to incur additional costs. We will continue to work with Ofcom and industry to stimulate progress in this area. We would like to see providers introduce systems that monitor typical usage profiles or some other effective mechanism in order to intervene earlier if a phone is lost or stolen to help to protect people from charges for unauthorised use.

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