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If any of you are on "cheap" phone contracts

(19 Posts)
EssentialHummus Sat 19-Dec-15 15:15:57

..please, please check to see that you're getting what you've bargained for.

I've had an Orange (now EE) SIM-only plan for ages, at £10 p/m. Didn't ever really think to check what I was spending on it as I make maybe 10 short calls a month. Checked my bank statements yesterday and noticed a charge of £40 for the last month. Logged on to the EE website, and actually my direct debits for the last two years are very high - from £30 to over £100 (!) one month - apparently because the contract comes with a very low data allowance (250mb), and further data is expensive. I don't use my phone for mobile data much, and certainly not for video etc, but it still adds up.

After 5 minutes' research I found a cheaper plan with more data.

I am usually on top of my outgoings, but whenever I saw my mobile payment I just assumed it was a "bad month". Please check yours if you're in any doubt. It's a ridiculous amount to pay.

Savings are going into overpaying mortgage smile

Seeyounearertime Sat 19-Dec-15 15:23:28

my direct debits for the last two years are very high

Wow, how can you not notice for 2 years? Do you so much money you don't check outgoings at least once a month?

IAmAPaleontologist Sat 19-Dec-15 15:24:31

Get out of the contract and get a gif gaff sim, cheap and no way of going over your data.

Artandco Sat 19-Dec-15 15:26:40

Of course, why wouldn't you have checked that? Surely they should be contacting you to ask if you wanted more data though?

That's a terrible package of £10 for such limited amount

In comparison with O2 I pay £12.50 a month. That's sim only. Gives unlimited minutes and texts, and 6gb of data. If I used all 6gb data I get a txt and have to call to add more data at a cost so would know.

BackforGood Sat 19-Dec-15 15:30:19

I don't understand how you haven't noticed for 2 years.
I get a text every month from my provider, and of course the amount is on the bank statement every time I log into that. Plus, if I ever think I've used quite a lot one month, I can check on my phone.

EssentialHummus Sat 19-Dec-15 15:37:34

I also don't understand how I hadn't noticed. I do log on to my internet banking regularly and I'm not exactly swimming in cash, but whenever I spotted an EE bill I just assumed that was the month I had to call overseas*. That's the thing - I'm generally on top of my expenses, I don't really get "surprise" bills...

Art - No, they don't warn you when you're over your limit (not that it's their fault). No bank statements/amounts provided unless you log on.

I think (or DP thinks, rather) that the package was competitive when I got it in, like, 2012. We just all use way more data now.

It's all OK, and thank God I'm not struggling for money, but it's an unnecessary amount to pay.

* I now use Call2Friends instead for o/seas calls, way cheaper.

LittleMissStubborn Sun 20-Dec-15 22:10:04

I pay £7.50 a month with Tesco, I get 500mb of data, plus an extra 250mb as my husband is on the same account.

It works for us as we mainly use WiFi.

raisin3cookies Sun 20-Dec-15 22:17:06

I got a deal with my sim only contract - £10 a month for unlimited data and texts, with 250 minutes or something ridiculously high that I rarely go over.

I did end up getting charged for a fraudulent text subscription service that I didn't sign up for. I would randomly get texts from "cellso babes" and would promptly delete. Turns out I was getting charged £3 a text and over a year it added up to £58. I tracked down the company and they immediately cancelled the "subscription" and refunded me the money. I'm not great at keeping up to date with some of my outgoings either, embarrassingly enough.

ENTirelyTrimmedUpForChristmas Sun 20-Dec-15 22:22:23

I have that £7.50 contract too Little Miss and they also email me every month to tell me what the bill will be (it's never been any different from £7.50)

GiraffesAndButterflies Sun 20-Dec-15 22:25:39

That's bad not to warn you about the data, I thought that had been cracked down on of late. O2 text me when I'm near my data limit and i have to deliberately purchase more if I run out.

EssentialHummus Sun 20-Dec-15 22:27:18

raisin - who is your contract with? That sounds ideal!

Interestingly a Guardian article yesterday claimed 9/10 people are on the wrong mobile contract:

I just have to reassure myself that the overpayments stop right nowblush

raisin3cookies Sun 20-Dec-15 22:47:13

I'm a long time virgin media customer so they gave me a discount on their higher tariff sim, tho their sim contracts in general seem pretty good value.

IAmAPaleontologist Mon 21-Dec-15 11:49:02

With giffgaff I get an email every month with my usage that month and a recommendation of which goody bag would be best value for my usage. You can change goody bag every month. I mainly use wifi so I keep my mobile data switched off so no chance of getting caught out by apps working in the background, I just flick it or if I do need to use it. I get a warning text when my data is up which tells me how much I'll be charged per mb until I renew my goody bag but because it is essentially payg then unless I have credit I won't be able to use data and be charged anyway. Every time I send a text or make a call I get a notification to say how many texts and minutes I have left.

BertieBotts Mon 21-Dec-15 11:57:39

You can download an app which will warn you when you're approaching and over your limit, I find it very useful - 3G Watchdog is the name for an android one. I don't know about Apple but would imagine that there is one.

250Mb isn't that low. I had a 100Mb limit at one point and it was my only internet access, I kept on top of it and it was doable. So, tips:

Make sure you are automatically connecting to your home wifi and anywhere else you go which has wifi, work, etc.

Go into settings, both the phone settings and the settings for every individual app and disable automatic updates (or allow only on wifi if you like updates), reduce the frequency at which apps like facebook, twitter, email, etc sync, as this all uses data.

Avoid using picture-heavy apps like instagram on mobile data, and you can also change a setting in your mobile browser to disable loading of pictures if you mostly browse text-heavy sites like mumsnet (it has the bonus of avoiding most ads, too).

Don't ever upload photos to facebook, whatsapp, etc, unless you're on wifi. Don't use streaming apps like music, videos, etc unless you are on wifi.

If you got your contract in 2012, though, you're well overdue an overhaul. Never just let the contract roll over after the 2 years are up, that is the worst thing you can do, always go to them and see what deals they will offer you.

Hufflepuffin Mon 21-Dec-15 12:40:36

Giffgaff is brilliant, as it's not technically a contract so you can choose to auto top up anything you use over your "goodybag" (monthly allowance) or you can choose to top up manually - you are totally in control.

I switched after one of the big companies changed my month by month contract to a two year contract without telling me and only let me out of it when they checked their recordings of our phone calls - turned out the crucial conversation had mysteriously vanished from their recordings! I knew I hadn't signed up as I was only on a sim only contract while waiting for the new iPhone to come out.

EssentialHummus Mon 21-Dec-15 14:23:32

Thanks Bertie, helpful stuff. I've now found a BT SIM-only plan (that uses the EE network anyway, so I know what I'm getting), for £12.00 a month, with some acceptable amount of calls and texts and 3 GB of data, along with a £30 Amazon gift card.

I remain slightly mystified about the amounts I spent though - I'm not on Facebook, Twitter or instagram <luddite>, just joined WhatsApp a few months ago, just joined MN a few months ago, tend to be near my home or work PC most waking hours (so no need to use phone that much), don't really stream anything. It was possibly apps updating themselves, I guess, or partly so. Have now disabled auto updates.

BertieBotts Mon 21-Dec-15 14:30:08

Most likely to be auto updates. I find them so irritating!

Ta1kinPeece Mon 21-Dec-15 18:56:14

I have PAYG : then I know exactly what I'm spending

Hufflepuffin Tue 22-Dec-15 15:40:47

If your phone is 4g then voice calls can use a lot of data, you can turn 4g off though.

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