Bill shock and why the mobile operators need to be proactive

We often read about people who have experienced bill shock issues when they open their mobile bill and discover huge, unexpected charges, often from using data services when roaming. 

Currently the issue of unexpected charges is something that is generally very poorly handled by the mobile operators – I have first hand experience of children running up substantial bills because there were no warnings or alerts about expenditure. Where are the hooks that pick up unusual spending patterns? It’s no good expecting customers to dig around your website looking for unbilled usage data – you need to push the information out to customers so that they remain in control. When a customer starts using data when roaming, warn them by SMS of the consequences, when usage hits a ‘dangerous level’ temporarily suspend usage until they confirm it’s okay. When a customer approaches their call or text bundle limit, warn them they will start incurring extra charges. Help customers to help themselves. 

And don’t do what one of the big UK mobile operators does, not make unbilled data available to customers until after the customer has received the first bill – by then it might be too late!

2 thoughts on “Bill shock and why the mobile operators need to be proactive”

  1. A few months ago, I received an SMS from 3UK informing me that I’d exceeded my (X-Series) data allowance and that I risked extra charges if I continued to connect.As it seemed most unlikely that I’d racked up 1GB in two weeks (when my highest monthly usage had been 120MB), I contacted CS using webchat and by phone to check.I was told that CS (or anyone else in 3UK) could not access my usage statistics and all I could do was wait for the next bill and query any surcharge then.The bill arrived and showed I’d used about 50MB, suggesting that the SMS warning had been completely incorrect.What’s the point of overspend warnings when the provider can’t confirm the figures nor assist by making further enquiries?

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  2. Totally agree but underlines the point that telcos need to help their customers manage their expenditure. Providing false warnings clearly doesn’t do that.

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