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Help! DSS mobile phone bill £4500!

(173 Posts)
mumtomoley Wed 22-Aug-12 23:36:36

Just got DSS's phone bill and it's just over £4500 shock

He's been to Turkey for 2 weeks with his mum and left data roaming on/been on the internet as it's all data charges. We really do not have the means to pay this at all. I've spoken to his mobile phone company, Orange, and they are going to call me back tomorrow. They have said that they may be able to put a credit on the account but 'to manage my expectations it won't be a significant amount'.

Any advice gratefully received?

LaurieFairyCake Wed 22-Aug-12 23:38:05

Who owns the contract? Is it you?

lisad123 Wed 22-Aug-12 23:38:25

Sell dss!!

StripyShoes Wed 22-Aug-12 23:38:50

shock Oh dear. What does his Mum say?

chocolatespiders Wed 22-Aug-12 23:39:53

Oh my 4 thousand surely not..... Such dead money... I hope you sort it. Maybe wise to check Martin Lewis website

TheDoctrineOfEnnis Wed 22-Aug-12 23:43:38

Mumto, there is supposed to be new legislation cOming out about this being implemented gradually but might give you the moral high ground.

Did he get any warning text messages?

Did he actually use the Internet or was it things updating automatically eg Facebook. That is an awful lot.

WynkenBlynkenandNod Wed 22-Aug-12 23:49:55

That's awful. If it's any help to know, Tesco suspended my account once I'd clocked up a £45 bill abroad this summer (am on a contract) which was a pain as was trying to sort things but reading this I think I've been lucky. They also send a couple of texts to warn about turning data roaming off to stop incurring big bills.

mumtomoley Wed 22-Aug-12 23:53:06

LaurieFairyCake The contact is in DP's name - DSS is 16. We phoned them this evening - 'we' being DP phoned them and then handed over to me as I'm generally 'better' at these things so they are speaking to me about it now (they are calling me on my mobile tomorrow with what they can do)

Chocolatespiders Yep £4500 sad I feel sick. Funnily enough, this week I had a sharesave scheme mature for that amount and it amounts to 3 yrs hard, hard saving. That's already been spent clearing my personal debt so no option to use that money. Though I think I would cry if I had to do that anyway.

StripyShoes His mum doesn't know yet. We only found out this evening looking at the bill online. He gets his GCSE results tomorrow so I think better not to bring it up with DSS and his mum just yet. At least until we know what Orange are able to do - if anything.

TheDoctrineofEnnis I had a google earlier, and I think a lot of the legislation only applies to the EU and they were in Turkey so there ws no cap or anything. I did say to Orange (when I was begging them to reconsider the charges) that it's is just SO far out of line with the usual bill that I cannot believe they didn't cut it off before it got anywhere near that point. Morally, I think they have an obligation to do that. Legally, they don't have to do anything.

God what a blow. We have had significant financial difficulties over the last year as DP was out of work for 6 months. Last month he went into debt management, and I feel like we are just getting ourselves together and trying to take control of things and then WHAM this bill that is just completely impossible.

StripyShoes Wed 22-Aug-12 23:57:12

Surely if he was with his mum and not you guys, you can appeal to her to say she should have mentioned it or noticed time spent surfing or something? <clutches at straws>

mumtomoley Wed 22-Aug-12 23:57:39

I am worried that DSS got text messages to tell him and he ignored them though. He is not the most reliable of individuals. Because of the high bill the direct debit bounced (funny that) so he hasn't been able to use his phone which is why this came to light as DP could see that he wasn't recieving his BB messages so (via his brother) asked what was up with his phone. DSS sent a very innocent sounding message saying he couldn't send/receive messages but didn't know why. He would usually be straight on moaning so I think he must know he's done something wrong, though I am jumping to conclusions at the moment.

I don't know whether it was automatic updates or being on the internet. Probably both? The bill just says 'data' and doesn't distinguish between the two. It's a smartphone though - so I think there would be various automatic updates if he didn't physically disable it which he obviously didn't.

TheDoctrineOfEnnis Wed 22-Aug-12 23:59:42

Ah yes I didn't know about the EU bit of the limit. But yes I think they should have stopped it or at least contacted to check if it had been stolen or something.

Try some of the Saturday papers as they have financial people who can chase down unfairness. Could also try ofcom.

Do you normally pay by DD?

mumtomoley Wed 22-Aug-12 23:59:54

Stripyshoes Yeah possibly. But she doesn't hae £4500 either!

At the moment the lady that I have been speaking to is based in a call centre. She is asking her boss about it in the morning and then calling me back but I am not sure how much authority they have to agree to anything.

Does anyone have any ideas of sensible people to speak to if I don't get much joy with the tomorrow?

TheDoctrineOfEnnis Thu 23-Aug-12 00:04:44

Ofcom do want to extend outside eu but prob hasn't happened yet.

However I do think mentioning raising a query with ofcom might help tomorrow as they are watching this sort of thing.

suburbophobe Thu 23-Aug-12 00:07:09

That is why I go into an internet cafe while on holiday and don't use my phone (unless an emergency...).

Few euros for email, FB message, skype, etc.

TheDoctrineOfEnnis Thu 23-Aug-12 00:08:05

Can you get to see the phone before the conversation tomorrow to see what text messages there are?

I think you could ask them what additional info they can give eg more breakdown of bill., evidence of sending warnings. You might be able to argue items of the bill separately if you have more detail.

LaurieFairyCake Thu 23-Aug-12 00:08:54

If he's not reliable why would your dp sign a contract for him? confused and then not take the mobile off him before he went abroad confused

I think you have a good case to say the charges are disproportionate and wouldn't have cost Tesco that to administer. I would offer £100, deduct it from DSS pocket money and then get rid of the contact and buy a pay as you go phone.

If they don't accept the 100 quid then I'd write to the money pages.

The bottom line is that you're in a debt management plan and you can't afford it. The charges are unreasonable but you have to act reasonably too and stop the contract.

AitchTwoOhOneTwo Thu 23-Aug-12 00:11:49

not the same amount of money, of course, but my phone was replaced and i forgot to fiddle about with automatic updates etc and my bill shot up by a hundred pounds or so. orange let it slide, because they could see it was out of character.

IdPreferNot Thu 23-Aug-12 00:15:32

What Laurie said. Make them a low but reasonable offer, then cut the contract. They're having a laugh to not have switched off the phone a long, long time before a £4500 charge accrued. I would ask them to explain why they didn't.

On a recent trip abroad, I phoned my bank- as always - to say I'd be travelling. They still rang me up 3 times in the course of a two week holiday to make sure all the charges were legit. In one case the charges came to less than £200.

Text messaging was not enough in this case. They could and should have rung, and then cut off the phone. It's not like they didn't know the number!

TheDoctrineOfEnnis Thu 23-Aug-12 00:17:15

Hmm under the direct debit guarantee I think the network should have contacted you before taking such a different amount ( or tryi g to!) I'm not 100% sure but one to check.

ColourMeWithChaos Thu 23-Aug-12 00:28:34

From what I can see Orange charge £8 per megabyte of data roaming in Turkey.

A £4500 is equal to over 500mb of data - too much for it to have just been automatic things if my DS's usage is anything to go by so he must have been intentionally facebooking/using the Internet.

ColourMeWithChaos Thu 23-Aug-12 00:30:35

Actually thinking about it, it depends how much he has automated.

If he has updates etc. automated to download when found he could use that amount.

Sarahplane Thu 23-Aug-12 00:36:17

We had massive problems with orange after my dh took out a new contract over the phone, they delivered it to a wrong address, refused to let us cancel it as they allowed someone else to register it and set up password etc without confirming they were. Fast forward to 6 months of harrassment from various debt collection companies wanting £1500 from us for the call charges and 18months line rental for a phone we'd never seen. Their call centre abd customer service is appalling if you have a problem they just fob you off abd don't want to know. No one takes ownership of the query even when you get put through the a supervisor or manager. In the end after much googling I found an email address for the chief executive if orange (found it on a forum of people who'd had problems with orange I think) and got a phone call from his pa who sorted it all out and removed the Mark on dh's credit rating. I still cancelled my contract with orange as soon as I could though as I just didn't trust them anymore.

Try emailing the chief executive and explaining and you might get a call back from someone who can help. Do you have other contracts with orange as well. If so and youre a loyal customer then emphasise this and they might help as a good will gesture. Good luck.

mumtomoley Thu 23-Aug-12 00:53:34

I think the fact that DSS will be on a PAYG from here on in is a no-brainer. The fallout from how he ran up such a bill how much is naivety and how much is idiocy is an argument for another time for me. His pocket money/paper round is a drop in the ocean compared to the bill so that can come later. Primarily, we need to sort Orange out.

Thank you so much for the practical advice. I too, think they are having a laugh not to have disconnected it way way before then. £4500 in two weeks? I feel like I can't get too angry with them though because we are relying on their goodwill to reduce their bill which is unfortunately legitimate.

Sorry if this is a silly question but are DD mandates generic? I.e is this something I can just google? Also itamy not permit them to take the DD but presumably the bill would still stand.

Do you think explaining the situation and appealing for leniency is my best strategy? Sarah you wouldn't still have that email address would you? If not I will have a good search in the morning.

Thanks again for your help.

ColourMeWithChaos Thu 23-Aug-12 01:05:46

From a quick google I can see the Orange CEO's email address here

mumtomoley Thu 23-Aug-12 01:08:32

Thank you colourmewithchaos - very kind of you. I am on my phone so couldn't google. Am in bed but funnily enough can't sleep. I will use it tomorrow, assuming I don't get much joy with the call centre.

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