Tourist’s shock at £5,000 phone bill

March 17, 2011 | by | 0 Comments

A holidaymaker was stunned after he took his mobile phone on a 10-day family trip abroad and returned home to find he had racked up a £5,000 bill.

Gary Stevens, 33, took his iPhone to Dubai so he could access his work emails while holidaying with wife Guiseppina and their one-year-old son Rocco.

Before leaving Britain Gary spoke to his network provider Orange and bought a 50MB foreign package for £60, allowing him to download 500 average-sized emails.

However, because the ‘data roaming’ function was not switched off on his phone he racked up a staggering £5,000 bill during the 10-day trip.

Gary, of Saffron Walden, Essex, has appealed to the Communications and Internet Service Adjudication Scheme (Cisas), which arbitrates in bill disputes.

He said: ”These smartphones are too smart for the people that use them.

”I called Orange to get their advice about the best package as I needed to access emails for work but they did not explain about roaming data.

”I’m not a technology expert and I thought I had done the sensible thing by buying a package.

”I feel sick to the bottom of my stomach. When I returned my phone was barred and I was completely shocked when I spoke to Orange.

”They said I had used 500MB of data but one of the problems is that you have no idea how because there is no breakdown like there is with text messages and phone calls.

”I think more people need to be made aware of this – I know I’m not the only one.”

Gary, whose holiday to Dubai was in September last year, received a text from Orange during the trip warning him he had used half his data allowance.

However, a second message explaining that he had exceeded the limit did not arrive until after the holiday had ended.

Orange has agreed to drop the charge to £1,120 but Gary is now considering legal action to get the bill reduced further.

A spokesman for Orange said that although the phone provider ”sympathises” with Gary, the foreign data bundle was clearly explained to him.

She said: ”Currently, customers who take out a bundle are sent data alerts with a free link to a WAP site for pricing information, to help them monitor their usage outside of the EU, and we plan to make additional changes to our alert process in time for the summer season this year.”

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