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Talkmobile customers hit by huge data bills in spite of usage caps

Monday, January 26th 2015 by Hannah Langston

Several customers of Vodafone-owned operator Talkmobile have received excessively high bills for data they claim they haven’t used, with one paying over £180 on a capped £50 tariff.

Grace Crawford, a local government officer from Hertfordshire, took out a £15 per month contract with a 500MB data allowance for her teenage son in November.

“He’s only ever at home or his dad’s house so he didn’t need a lot of data because he’s always in places where there’s wi-fi.

“When I got my first bill and it was £80 I was astonished,” she told Cable.co.uk.

Talkmobile contracts include either a 500MB or 1GB data allowance, with extra data subject to a charge of 10p per MB, the operator states on its website.

However, Ms Crawford said that data had been switched off on the phone and Carphone Warehouse, who runs Talkmobile’s customer services, confirmed she had done this correctly.

After raising the issue with customer services, Ms Crawford was told she could put a £10 data limit on the account and monitor what her son was using via an online app.

“My bill for January was £40 so I asked how can it go over? But they said the £10 limit was just a guide and it can go over.

“I think something’s going on behind the scenes here. I’m paying more on his contract than mine,” she added.

Another Talkmobile customer, recruitment director Tina Merry from Oxford, reported a similar issue with Talkmobile’s data caps.

'I hadn't been warned'

She took out a £14 per month contract for her 11-year old son in September but was shocked to find her son had run up £125 of data charges in the first month. This is despite Ms Merry’s previous request for a £50 limit on her son’s data usage.

“I told customer services ‘you haven’t capped him, what happened to the £50 cap?’ I wasn’t contacted about him going over, they just took £125 out of my account,” she told Cable.co.uk.

She only saw the £124.72 bill after being contacted by Talkmobile the following month when her son had used £55 worth of data.

“I got stopped because of going over by £5, I only clocked the previous month’s £125 bill when I was shown their online system by someone in the call centre – they didn’t have an explanation as to why I hadn’t been warned. How can he run up £125 of charges without it being cut off?”

What’s more, because Ms Merry is disputing the bill, her son’s phone has been blocked meaning he is unable to make or receive calls and texts. “My son is now walking to and from school in the dark without a phone,” she added.

“Rather than addressing the issue, customer services keep saying I should pay more each month so he can get extra data. It’s appalling.”

Customers have taken to Cable.co.uk’s forum to share similar experiences of Talkmobile.

User Butchie claimed he was still charged for data usage despite requesting a £50 cap: “I paid more than £180 on three occasions as apparently I went over my data, they told me that my tariff was capped to £50 but how come they still billed me with this amount?

“Their explanation was they do not have the access to check if you went over your data as they are under Vodafone – so what’s the point in capping then?”

User Andy also complained of receiving no warning when he exceeded his allowance: “In three years I have never exceeded my 500MB data limit until this month. I always use wi-fi where possible. Somehow – maybe apps updating or a fault, I don't know – I have gone 500MB over my limit. I am looking at charges in excess of £40 from Talkmobile. This is a total rip off.

“There was no warning to allow me to avoid the charges. I phoned customer services and got no help whatsoever. They are just not interested. I cannot wait to end my contract with Talkmobile.”

Cable.co.uk has put these claims to Carphone Warehouse but has not yet received a response.

Comments (37)

10th October 2017

Talk mobile have over a period of 4-5 months been taking monies off me by sending me txt sometimes as soon as 30 min after I add data booster to relay its expired, each month I raise concern and they stop data so that I have to top up at least 2/3 times as well as my monthly allowance, they are effectively stealing money from customers by relay data has been used, mobile data is switched off, but doesn't matter they are without care or integrity in the extreme, be warned.

Dave B
4th July 2016

Used the same approach as James, be polite and state your case 1. No warning of data limit approaching text. 2. No warning of data limit exceed text. First I new of this over use of data was a £500.76 bill on a £10 per month tariff. Money has been refunded on the provision that we change the tariff.......yea OK...but not with Talkmobile...

kishore kolassery
22nd March 2016

what a surprise on my first bill.the lady who sold me the sim card from talk talk mentioned that i will be warned by text message and email when i use up 80 percent of my data and when at 100 percent finish.i was only warned 24 hours after i finished my allowance and there is no live updates so that i can check my usage.i received an email that i ve used £8 over my monthly usage and only to find out that ive been charged for £32 and service suspended.ok i agree my mistake as i used more.the funny part is there is no capping service and the credit minimum is 1£ that too has no guarentee that it will stop there.talk talk app does not work and they dont have a system where i can check my usage.three mobile and giffgaff have the facility to cap the usage that the customers wont use excess of their allowance but talk talk has left it open so that they can charge customers as they please.£32 for 1.6 gb of data that too ridiculously priced.talk talk will end up paying a lot more when they will be caught by the watchdog.please be aware giving you a cheap monthly tariff is just a bait to trap you.

Lee Bates
21st March 2016

I can't wait for my contract to end as I find talk mobile not very good at all. I have just been given a £35 bill even though I've capped my bill to £8? They tell me it takes 72 hours to kick in ( more like let's rip our customer off) . So if your looking for a new deal 100% do not use this company

13th January 2016

I wrote a few days ago about a 177 pound bill received for a 14 pound/ month plan on a phone used by my daughter. It might assist readers to know that the information that had been given to me about o2 sending out alerts to the bill payer when the charges exceed 180 pounds was incorrect. What actually happens is that the alert is an internal one sent only to their billing department. That department then decides whether they feel they need to alert you or not. In my case, they decided not to alert me, despite the fact that my daughter was on a 14 pound plan! However, when they do alert you, it's not by text message (which they keep copies of) but by posted letter, which they do not keep a copy of ( so if you don't receive it, you can't request a copy and you're just stuffed!). In conclusion, beware of being told of alerts and caps. These are often reassuring catch phrases, that hide the fact that these caps and alerts are internal procedures.

Jacqui Turrell
12th January 2016

anyone having problems with Talk mobile should go through the ombudsman I have a bill of £1000 for a £10 a month contract for over use of data I did not have any email from them to alert me of the high usage and they also said they sent text alerts but they did not I am waiting for a reply from the ombudsman for anresolutiin

11th January 2016

Talkmobile took money from my account £39 where it should be £15, i cap the price £2.50. But i never received any message that my data usage is finished. Mobile stay at home 24/7 & my 2 years old just watch cartoon sometimes & its on wifi. I have no idea at all how did they charging like this. We should avoid talkmobile and report to trading standard agency, watchdog bbc1. Talkmobile ripping off customer. Avoid talkmobile.

9th January 2016

My daughter is on a 1 gb data plan 14 pounds/ month. I have recently received a bill for 177 pounds! It;s all due to over usage of data. Customer care said they sent a text message to her warning that the cap was nearing. They then sent her a message stating that it has been reached and rather than cutting her data they started charging her at an astronomical rate. I complained that as the bill payer, once the charges reached disproportionately high levels vs a 14 pound plan, an alarm should have been triggered and at a minimum a notification to the bill payer generated, so I could do something about it before discovering it on my bill. They had no answer to that one. Does anyone know how to take this matter further? They are operating a scam by not warning users of high charges and hiding behind unclear rules and messages to justify their fraudulent acts.

Michael thompson
18th December 2015

In the past 2 months I have been hit with data charges of £185 and £320 and I have a £5 cap on phone any help would be welcome

10th December 2015

Ripped off by 3!. I took out a 1 year £10 a month IPad data contract for the kids. After a few months I realised that I was being charged in excess of £50 some months. I spoke to 3 who told me by default the contract is not capped and I would have to pay. I was very annoyed because in the store I confirmed with the assistant that the contract was capped before i signed up. As the year went by the bills kept coming in much greater than £10 even though I kept requesting that they capped the contract they did not. After 1 year i disconnected. I am disgusted by 3 and their rip off tac tics. I am now with O2 and much happier.

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