Almost three million people in the UK have been overcharged by their mobile phone provider, new research has revealed.
Price comparison and switching service uSwitch has found that, on average, each billing error is worth £23 per customer, which equates to more than £63.5 million.
What is more, unless customers challenge a bill, or the provider investigates of its own accord, these charging discrepancies are unlikely to be removed.
The switching service’s poll of 2,000 people found that almost a third of the UK’s mobile users have at some point noticed that their monthly bill was higher than they were expecting. In almost a third (29%) of cases, surprise charges resulted from customers calling premium numbers, while a quarter were for exceeding the data allowance, with, on average, the ‘bill shock charge’ standing at £18.70 or an additional £224.40 a year.
One reason why these mistakes slip through is that one in six mobile phone users says they haven’t checked their bill in the past six months.
Almost half (47%)of Brits say they haven’t done so because they assume it’s correct, while 18% confess that they “could not be bothered” to.
As almost 7% of phone users were not the bill payers on their contract, they may not have seen their bills and may be unaware of any extra or incorrect charges.
Ru Bhikha, mobiles expert at uSwitch, says: “This research shows the alarmingly high number of billing errors reported by mobile phone users.
“With unexpected charges coming in at around £20, it’s easy to see how, if left unchecked, a great value deal can quickly become a drain on your finances. If you’re regularly going over your allowance or incurring extra charges, it might be that you’re not on the right tariff.
“While networks should be doing all they can to prevent billing errors, they can and do happen so it really does pay to be vigilant. Checking your bill should take just a couple of minutes. If you spot something that you think is a mistake, contact your provider to let it know - you might well find you’re due a refund.”