The Sydney Morning Herald newspaper reports that consumers are making up to 350 complaints per day to authorities about the high cost of owning new generation smartphones in what they call a ‘phenomenon known as bill shock’.
The Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman, Deidre O’Donnell, said customers, confused by caps on downloading emails and data, were being hit with exorbitant charges. Her department receives about 1,000 complaints per day with a third being related to ‘bill shock’.
Ms O’Donnell said consumers were easily confused by data downloading caps because they were expressed in terms of megabytes or gigabytes. Typical plans include caps set at 25 megabytes, 200 megabytes, 500 megabytes or one gigabyte.
A spokesman for Choice (Australia’s consumer association), Christopher Zinn, said that while mobile phone firms were doing nothing illegal or misleading, “we generally have a jaundiced view of mobile phone plans because they’re so complicated … it’s impossible to compare where the value lies. We find it hard to compare, and we’re not surprised that many consumers find it hard to compare.”
This is the sort for headline the industry does not need and the fact that it is purely billing related should send a clear message to service providers that consumers need billing simplified and that regulators are taking a closer look. You can read the whole story here.