Customers pay the bill for stolen mobile phonesWhich? finds consumers must pay for fraudulent use

25 February 2011

Man using his mobile phone

Take care of your mobile phone

Which? is concerned that mobile phone networks are asking customers to foot the bills for illegal phone usage that could total thousands of pounds.

Vodafone, 3, O2 and Orange all told us that their customers are liable for account usage up to the point at which a lost or stolen mobile phone is reported by a customer. 

Although this is legal, we don’t think these policies are fair on customers who don’t realise their phone is stolen, or who aren’t immediately able to report it as missing.

Big bills

One Which? member contacted Which? after his mobile phone was stolen in Corfu. He was faced with a £1,500 bill from his network provider, 3, for calls made from his phone before he realised that it was missing and was able to report it. After six months, 3 agreed to cut the bill to £750.

Apps, thiefs and techonology

With new generations of smartphones, there are even more ways for a thief to rack up big bills such as purchasing apps. However, some mobile networks claim they don’t have the technology to identify unusual usage patterns, while others claim that blocking accounts showing suspicious patterns of use would irritate existing customers.

For more on mobiles, visit Which? Mobile

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