Monday, February 01, 2010

Why is My Mobile Bill £2,700?

My normal mobile phone bill is normally anywhere between £90 and £200. I got a bit of a shock when I opened my bill for December to find it was £2,700. I tweeted about it and it was immediately picked up by Vodafone's Twitter team, who have so far been very helpful in trying to get to the bottom of it. Apparently the bill for January is for a similar amount. It all relates to data transfer.

I haven't used the phone in any different manner. I do get a lot of email, but then again I did in previous months. The only change I can think of is that I changed from using Twitterberry to Ubertwitter. But they operate in the same way, so it surely can't be that. You also can't watch videos on a Blackberry Bold.

One thing that the phone does, which is a bit odd, is to randomly switch on its WiFi function. If it can do that, is there something else it has switched on without me realising?

I'm only writing this to ask if this has happened to anyone else and to see if anyone has any ideas. Vodafone are going to run some data tests, but at the moment there doesn't seem to be a rational explanation.

So, wisdom of the crowds, get to work...

32 comments:

Mark M said...

The one thing that always gets me.. why do these companies allow your bill to get to £2,700 without alerting you when it is, say, £100?

Some kind of early-alert would save all manner of worry from people who can't afford when something goes tits up.

The Grim Reaper said...

Looks like you'll be doing a lot more newspaper reviews until that's paid off, then. ;-)

You're lucky to have a blog and a fan base at times like these. Big companies don't like negative publicity. Though one adverse effect will probably be that your Google ads will be about Vodafone for the next few days now.

When you went off to Russia for a few days, the blog was covered in adverts about "Russian babes"...

Cath said...

You seem remarkably calm Iain!!

Iain Dale said...

Cath, Vodafone seem as concerned as I am so there's no point in flying off the handle. I wasnt very calm when I opened the envelope, I assure you!

nadds said...

Iain

Not quite the same level, but my daughter had a £100 extra charges a couple of months in a row

It looked like a form of dialing trojan that kept on accepting calls from a wierd number that cost a fortune.

O2 did naff all

The fix was a complete reset of the phone which cleared out the dialer

Norfolk Blogger said...

You can get up to date billing information by setting up your account on the Vodafone website. It might be worth checking it daily and seeing what your daily usage is and when it goes up quickly.

denverthen said...

Maybe they've decided to charge you for the quality of the data you've been transferring. In an odd sort of way, it could be a compliment.

More likely is that a stray decimal point is the culprit. Strange, though, that whenever that happens - and it's happened to me once or twice - it's always in the service provider's favour.

There never seems to be any chance of a billing error in the other direction (which would mean £2.70, in ID's case), I reckon.

Go figure.

canvas said...

It sounds like international roaming charges...do you have that option ticked?

Iain Dale said...

I havent been abroad.

canvas said...

It really sounds like mobile data charges? Is your wifi secure? Would this make a difference? I don't know! sorry.

Mike Rouse said...

You'd have to have your data connection running pretty much permanently to run up that kind of usage, I would imagine. You would have noticed a marked decrease in battery life if the data was doing overtime.

Aspiring Rainmaker said...

vodafone twitter team?!? lol

Seamaster73 said...

Get an iPhone, and relax. All the O2 iPhone tariffs have free unlimited data, both 3G/EDGE and BT Openzone/The Cloud wifi. And there's not Twitter client on those old Blackberry things to rival Tweetie 2 for iPhone.

Arieh said...

This is a guess, but perhaps your new Twitter client is somehow using the wrong APN? Blackberries can hold multiple APNs and different programs can use different ones. Maybe your free Internet access is for a different APN to the one Ubertwitter is using?

cbwoolley said...

You should look at if you have set up an out of office reply system over the holidays that is getting into a loop between 2 or more email accounts. That can wack up the usage pdq.

Stuart said...

Ian

You should never pay more than £100 per month. Seems like you're on a poor contract. Happy to help for a beer...

Stuart
(the Stuart who nearly helped on Talk Radio last year...)

Half The Story said...

Simply you have downloaded too much data and are being charged for it.

Why you are downloading something is strange, and they should know....

These thinsg are NEVER isolated incidents.

javelin said...

My corporate blackberry is Top of the range and crap. I never use it.

Get an iPhone, You'll never look back.

Martin said...

I purchased a blackberry on T-Mobile for £99 that gives me a years free data access. You're being shafted Iain. Get rid.

I'd never own a contract mobile, get PAYG at least you can't get ripped off.

Ben said...

Normally I'd suspect foreign data charges. If you haven't been abroad that leaves a couple of options so far as I can see:

1. You are being charged for data use and are using a fantastic amount due to some technical cock up beyond my ken.

Note that even if you have 'unlimited' data usage you can still end up being charged if your usage hits a certain level and is no longer 'fair use'. Personally I think that sort of clause is outrageous.

2. Your sim has been cloned and some bastard has been making calls at your expense.

David Gregory said...

Iain why on earth are you paying up to £200 let alone £2700?
An iphone with all you can eat data and more texts and minutes than I ever use is around £35 a month. (And I was lucky enough to get money off so mine is more like £24 a month)
I'm sure there must be better deals for Blackberries too.

Andy said...

Have you enabled maps to be automatically downloaded as you roam the country ?
Enabled the browser and changed the homepage to a rolling news source ?

Magical_Mist said...

I'm going to have to wade in and also suggest that you get an iPhone - Blackberrys suck.

................................. said...

I'm amazed that you of all people don't have an unlimited data plan, Iain!

P.S. If Vodaphone can't justify the bill, don't pay it.

Iain Dale said...

I thought I did!

Andrew Harnwell said...

I am not a fan of Vodafone. I bought my mother a pay-as-you-go phone one Xmas and started the account off with £20.

She never used the phone. They cancelled the account and awarded the account to someone else.

Did they warn us they were going to do that? No.

What did they do when I wrote (you must write, you cannot possibly do it over the phone) asking for the £20 back? Nothing. They ignored the letter.

econyonium said...

If your WiFi switches on by itself, have you noticed any pattern to this? In certain places, at certain times?

It may be your phone is being hacked into and used by somebody else to access the network.

headless said...

@ Andrew Hardwell. What, you want to actually use the *phone* to speak to a *phone* line provider??!!
Another good reason to leave Vodafone.

Chris said...

It's going to be a mistake, no question. I know from experience if you start racking up serious charges, they phone you and pester you.

What's more, even though they know which country you are in, they still call you in the middle of the night when the reason your bill is high is roaming charges. Gits! :D

JRH said...

Iain - is there a possibility that you have "paired" the phone up to your laptop at some stage and not turned it off.

ie you may be effectively using your phone as a 3G modem for your laptop and all the traffic that consumes?

I've heard of people accidentally doing this whilst in the US and ringing up £15,000 a month bills!

DespairingLiberal said...

If you haven't been abroad, or (be careful on this one, as it gets many people) to Ireland, or West Wales (which sometimes roams to Ireland!) or parts of Kent which sometimes roam to France - then - deep breath - it's just the Vodie ripoff machine charging you for data use. Either something to do with downloads (sometimes it's just one rogue download repeating) or with laptop synching or wifi.

We used to be on Vodafone/Blackberry but switched to iphone last year from O2 - bills are 60% less on average against the same usage pattern.

Best thing is to say cheerio to the Newbury cash machine, aka, Vodafone Corporation.

Kurina said...

We've just had a shock from Vodafone. We started a £15 sim only vodafone 30 day rolling contract, with a £5 data allowance.

We've never received one bill (we set the account up in early December) and have just been told tha we owe over £300!!!

Spent ages on the phone to Vodafone and the rep said we have to go back to the store we bought it from and speak to the person who sold it us! We now have to spend our weekend, searching for someone to admit they've made a mistake.

What a total waste of time and stress.

To top it all, the money they've taken (without ever seeing a bill), has taken me over our overdraft, so there's another charge on top of that!

TF for Fridays!!!!