Sky-high mobile phone bills for phones that are lost or stolen are to be capped from spring 2014 under a new government agreement with four of the major mobile phone companies – EE, Three, Virgin Media and Vodafone.
It means that customers who receive an unexpectedly high phone bill as a result of theft or loss will only be liable to pay a capped rate.
No decision has been taken on the level that bills will be capped at yet, but government aides have indicated that it could be at a similar level to the £50 liability cap currently in place for stolen credit and debit cards.
For advice, see our guidance on what to do if your phone is lost or stolen.
Lost or stolen mobile phone?
This latest announcement should help ensure that you are not hit with a shock phone bill if your phone is lost or stolen.
If you’re on a contract and you lose your phone or it is stolen you should report it to your mobile phone provider immediately. This is because, under current rules, you’ll still be liable for any calls made using your phone until you report it lost or stolen.
This will also be the case if someone else makes unauthorised international calls on your mobile.
Fixed Means Fixed campaign
This agreement follows new rules coming into force from 23 January next year that give phone customers the right to exit their mobile contract without incurring a penalty if prices are raised mid-contract. Currently, you cannot exit a mobile phone contract if you are still within your minimum term.
However, we want mobile providers and the government to go even further.
We want to see an end to confusing mobile phone charges that leave you paying more than you should, and we also want to see easier switching and simpler mobile phone tariffs.