Woman gets £2,000 phone bill for using hotel wi-fi abroad

A woman received a £2,000 bill after she left her data roaming on while in the US even though she only used the wi-fi in a hotel lobby.

That is one among thousands of complaints about mobile phone network providers recieved by Citizens Advice.

Citizens Advice slammed the shock bills, tariff mistakes and phantom charges that mobile phone providers issue their customers with.

It said it had received reports of 28,000 mobile phone and contract related issues last year and a further 102,000 people sought help online.

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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.

“It’s time the industry looked at how it could banish bad behaviour and help customers avoid large bills.

“Phone providers could help people by sending them text messages with reminders about the costs and any limits they have. There is also an opportunity for firms to be innovative by creating tools for people to keep day-to-day track of their charges, calls and data use.”

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Readers' comments (3)

  • Anonymous

    How can she have received a £2000 bill Phone bill for using a hotels Wifi? If she used the wifi she would have avoided the phone bill.
    This story sounds very dubious to me.

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  • Thanks for your comment - I have amended the story to make it clearer. She said she had only used the hotel's wi-fi but had left her data roaming on during the trip.

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  • I'm not sure how sorry I feel for these people. There's been no end of these stories in the papers, on the internet, and PR material in phone bills, and you'd have thought that any adult capable of paying for a mobile phone would have known about this issue by now.

    There is a simple solution. Switch roaming off before you go away, and buy a local SIM card at your destination. They're cheap enough, and even if calls or texts look expensive, they're a darned sight cheaper than a 2,000-pound phone bill when you get back!

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