Ofcom aims to tackle unexpectedly high broadband bills
Consumers who have received an unexpectedly high broadband, home phone or landline bill in the past 12 months are being urged to get in touch with Ofcom.
The UK's telecoms industry watchdog will use any reports of unforeseen one-off payments as evidence while it considers whether communications providers are taking enough steps to protect their subscribers from these charges.
Research conducted by the organisation revealed six per cent of Brits were surprised by a high mobile phone bill over the past year, with almost a fifth of those having to shell out for an invoice that was over £100 more than they were anticipating.
And landline charges also held some unwelcome shocks for consumers, with five per cent of respondents receiving an unexpectedly costly statement in the same period.
Explaining the need for this investigation to be launched, Ofcom pointed out there are a number of factors that can lead to consumers being lumbered with high broadband and phone bills.
Using mobile phones and broadband dongles abroad, exceeding monthly calling allocations, dialling expensive or premium rate numbers and downloading too much data have all been identified as common reasons for these unexpected costs to be incurred.
In the case that consumers feel they are being billed for services they have not used, the body advises them to check with everyone in the household to ensure the fees have not been racked up by someone else.
"If the charges are still not recognised, you should contact your service provider," Ofcom said. "It may be helpful to send them a copy of your bill, highlighting the relevant charges and the reasons why they are being disputed."
TalkTalk and Tiscali were warned by Ofcom in November 2010 after the regulator received more than 1,000 complaints throughout the year from consumers who were still being billed despite cancelling their services.