Mobile costs can be a big surprise

24th January 2014

Are you one of those people who lives on their mobile phone? An awful lot of us do these days. But do you know how much you’re actually paying for it?

 A Keep Me Posted survey has found more than a quarter of mobile contract holders exceeded their tariffs on more than one occasion last year, with the highest “surprise” bill averaging £31 above their normal charge. Imagine if you did that every month - you’re looking at more than £300 a year extra! No wonder 40% of people in our survey said it impacts on their budget.

 One way of keeping on top of your costs is to have paper bills – our research has found that people are far more likely to scrutinise and act on paper bills, and this could lead to a reduction in the monthly phone outgoings of UK households as people become more aware of what they’re being charged. Yet phone companies, more than any other sector, are the most likely to charge for paper bills! 

Our campaign, as you know, is calling on businesses to give people the choice of having their financial information on paper at no extra cost if that’s what they want. And they really do want it – 47% of those surveyed said they’d like to receive free itemised paper bills as standard – a facility not available from most phone providers.

I think this has led to  lack of awareness among consumers as to how much they are really paying – three quarters couldn’t put a price on how much they pay for calls per minute if they have gone over the agreed allowance, and it’s even higher for internet users – 77% have no idea what it costs. No wonder people carry on calling, emailing and downloading even after they have gone over their limit – it feels like it’s free; until the bill arrives!

Too many people are finding it difficult to keep a grip on their money matters – I think paper bills could help them take back that control.

Judith Donovan