Using mobile phones abroad How to challenge a mobile bill
Coming home to an enormous mobile bill can be the nightmare end to a dream holiday. But don't panic - following these steps can help resolve disputes.
Know your charges
It sounds obvious, but look at your bill and what you've been charged for. A sky-high bill could be down to a genuine mistake from your provider, or it might be because charges are higher than you'd expect while you're abroad.
Service providers can charge notoriously high prices for roaming outside the EU, and charges for using the internet on your smartphone (data roaming) can be particularly expensive.
Contact your service provider
Get in touch with your operator to say you're challenging your bill, explaining which charges you think are incorrect and why. Most service providers ask you to call a dedicated number as your first step, but T-Mobile requires a letter. See below for the numbers to call.
Ofcom suggests it may be worth sending a copy of your bill to your service provider, highlighting any disputed charges and explaining why you think they're wrong.
If your network operator is unable to resolve your complaint, or if you have to wait longer than eight weeks for a complaint to be resolved, you can take your complaint to an Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) scheme, which will come to an independent decision after reviewing both sides of the complaint.
There are two Ofcom-approved ADR schemes - CICAS and Ombudsman Services: Communications (see below for contact details).
Can't afford to pay
In some cases it's possible to run up eye-watering bills for roaming outside the EU. Three Mobile charges up to £10/MB for data use in countries Canada, Croatia, Kenya, Republic of Korea, Malaysia, Oman and Thailand, so streaming data can get very pricey very quickly.
If you genuinely can't afford to pay, give your service provider a call. Operators can be more understanding than you'd expect and may be able to help with payments. You might not get your bill wiped clean, but your operator might be able to reduce the charges or spread payments out over a longer period.
Network provider contacts
Below are the numbers to call if you want to complain about your mobile phone bill. T-Mobile provides an address and asks that you send a letter instead of phoning
O2 Pay monthly: 202 or 0844 800 90202
O2 Pay-as-you-go: 4445 or 0844 809 0222
Orange Pay monthly: 150 or 07973 100 150
Orange Pay-as-you-go: 450 or 07973 100 450
Talk Talk: 0870 087 8751
Tesco: 0845 301 4455
Three: 333 or 0843 373 3333
The Complaint Investigations Team, T Mobile
6 Camberwell Way
Virgin: 789 or 0845 600 0789
Vodafone Pay monthly: 191 or 0870 070 0191
Vodafone Pay-as-you-go: 191 or 0870 077 6655
Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) contacts
If you need to escalate a complaint or have been waiting over eight weeks for a resolution, call the relevant ADR scheme.
For O2, Talk Talk, Three and Vodafone:
Ombudsman Services Communications
PO Box 730
01925 430 049
For Orange, T-Mobile and Virgin Mobile:
Communication and Internet Services Adjudication Scheme (CISAS)
The Chartered Institute of Arbitrators
24 Angel Gate
020 7520 3827
For Tesco Mobile:
Office of the Telecommunications Ombudsman (Otelo)
0845 050 1614