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Tourists outside EU face massive phone bills


Holidaymakers who travel outside of the EU are unwittingly facing massive phone bills, according to debt charity Citizens Advice.

The charity has discovered that tourists are facing a lottery on charges depending on what provider their contract is with, where they travel to and whether they have bought a ‘bolt-on’ which gives them a set amount of data to use abroad for a fixed cost. One company charges more than 80 times more for its standard rate than it does for its cheapest.

Many people do not realise how quickly costs can add up when outside of the EU. Within the EU the highest per megabyte roaming rate is capped at £0.17, but outside the EU there is no limit and researchers found it can cost up to £12.50.

Providers are required to send one warning message to customers if they are outside the EU and their bill reaches around £35, asking them if they want to continue. Once this text is sent, they are not required to contact the customer again.

Gillian Guy, Chief Executive of Citizens Advice, said:
“Using the internet on your mobile abroad can cost more than the holiday itself.
“Most people don’t think in megabytes, and don’t choose their mobile provider based on roaming rates.
“The market shouldn’t be a lottery where some customers can be unwittingly plunged into life-changing amounts of debt just because they used their phone.

“A voluntary price cap would help better protect customers and companies could do more by giving more warnings to customers if their bills start to rise.”
If you are going on holiday soon, take a look at our blogs; Best holiday money saving tips, travel insurance tips and stranded abroad with no money.

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