Even those who are always on top of their mobile phone bill may still encounter problems from time to time. This might be due to struggling financially and not being able to pay the bill, or believing that the amount you’ve been charged is incorrect and you wish to dispute it.
I Cannot Afford My Contract
If you’re struggling financially and cannot maintain an expensive contract, or there is a particular bill you simply cannot afford, your best course of action is to contact the provider right away so you don’t end up piling on the debt.
Firstly you should check the length of your contract. If you have reached the minimum term you should be free to move on to a cheaper tariff or cancel altogether. If you are locked in for several more months you may still be able to cancel the contract for a fee (which will still save you money in the long run). Unfortunately most providers do not allow you to cancel a contract early without paying the remainder, which is not going to help you in a financial crisis.
If you have already missed payments and are in arrears you are entitled to work out a realistic payment plan where you agree to pay what you can afford on a weekly or monthly basis until the debt is paid. However this may result in the service being turned off until you’re no longer in arrears.
Some providers also allow the transferring of your contract to a family member or friend who are looking for a similar service but can afford to pay it. This will be the same contract as it currently stands, but it will now be under the new person’s name. Note that not all providers will do this and you will have to pay off any debts before their switch can take place.
Disputing A Bill
If you believe your bill is too high and there has been some kind of error along the way, you have the right to dispute it with the provider. A simple phone call relaying your concerns should be suffice if there is genuine error that you can easily point to. All providers will have some kind of complaints procedure.
Before contacting them be sure to go in to the itemised section of the bill to see if there’s an indication of where the extra charges are coming from. Did you call any premium rate numbers that are charged above your contract? Did you sign up to any text messaging services? Did you go over your monthly allowance of data, minutes or texts?
Of course it’s possible that it might say you’ve gone over a limit when you haven’t, in which case you should mentioned any supporting evidence, such as no such call being registered in your call history, or your phone’s internal data log being vastly different than what is alleged on the bill.
If the complaint does not go in your favour it is a good idea to write a letter explaining your concerns, with a copy of the bill and past bills for reference, and any other evidence you can point to.
If they still do not agree with you there is then the option to escalate the matter with an independent ombudsman or through Ofcom.
Note that if you have signed up to some kind of premium service, but feel your were tricked or they didn’t make the terms clear, your dispute will be with them and not your mobile contract provider.