Unexpected phone charges are not only frustrating but also a cause of concern, especially as people face heightened uncertainty and stress due to the coronavirus crisis. The Phone-paid Services Authority (PSA) reported an increase in the number of complaints regarding unauthorised charges on their phone bills across the United Kingdom.
While this incident is attributed to subscriptions that they did not opt for, it’s only one of the things adding to already inflated phone bills.
As people spend more time at home, they may be billed for subscriptions that they previously haven’t used, including games, fitness plans, music streaming, and more. These services offer great content, but it’s also essential to check whether they are unknowingly signing up for a regular subscription that automatically reflects on their next phone bill.
It is essential to be careful while browsing the internet, exercising vigilance when clicking, and signing up for an unrequired service. Based on regulations, companies have to mention the price and frequency of the subscription charge explicitly. If a service piques your interest, read all the details carefully before registering for the website or content.
Additionally, regularly inspect your phone bill to filter out any unrecognized charges. If you find a subscription but are unaware of what it is or where it came from, reach out to your network service provider. If the company fails to respond, you can escalate your concern to the PSA to get a resolution for your complaint.
As per the PSA guidelines, receipts are mandatory after every purchase. If you receive any notification or SMS informing that you have been charged for a service, don’t immediately assume that it’s spam. Directly replying ‘STOP ALL’ to the number that sent the notification can cancel these subscriptions.
As an increasing number of people try to contact government agencies and customer care lines for delivery and other similar services, the phone lines have been bombarded with constant calls. It has led to an increase in ICSS or call-connection services.
The ICSS is a service that will dock payments on your phone bills for connecting to another organization. These charges can be quite expensive.
If you are searching for a customer care number on the internet, carefully discern all the numbers before you call. The first result on popular search engines may not be the correct number you’re trying to reach. Firms can pay to be at the top of search results, so check before you dial.
Most official helplines start with 080, 01, 02, and 03. These numbers are billed at standard or low rates, and those beginning in 118, 087, 09 and 084 will typically incur a premium rate.
Additionally, instances of ads, texts, and emails claiming to give you prizes and free vouchers have increased during the crisis. Clicking on these links may take you to a premium-rate survey or service that could lead to unnecessary charges. Be extremely wary when providing your phone number online. It could lead to high costs if you are charged via your phone bill. Read through the terms and conditions of the offer and evaluate whether you need it, and the prices are worth it.
Beware of competitions where you have to send an SMS to enter. Such contests generally take place on radios. Make yourself aware of the T&Cs, the charges, and if it is a one-time or repeated charge.
Be vigilant before sharing any details or calling an unknown number because this could help you avoid any extra charges. If you are not able to get a resolution from your network provider or the company that charged you, you can reach out to the PSA. You can register an issue online or contact the call centre as well. PSA also has a free service checker to see which company levied some specific charge on your phone bill.