The extra £61 cost of using mobile phone in Europe: Holiday makers are still being stung with surprise bills despite EU wide cap on data roaming charges
One in six travellers paid £100 more on top of their normal bill after holiday
This is despite EU-wide cap on internet roaming fees of £36 a month
But there are no restrictions on calls, texts and listening to voicemails
One in six Britons keep their phones switched off on holiday to avoid bills
Britons are still getting shock bills for using their mobile phone in Europe – with the average overseas stay incurring extra charges of £61.
Holidaymakers are being stung with surprise demands on their return despite an EU-wide cap on internet roaming fees of £36 a month.
Experts say the measure is ‘insufficient’ – because there are no restrictions on calls, texts and listening to voicemails. One in six travellers even paid £100 or more on top of their normal bill last time they visited the continent, a study found.
Under 35s were the most likely to be hit with bumper demands, with those between 18 and 34 paying an average of £72 more.
Price comparison site uSwitch.com, which commissioned the study, has now called for a ceiling on all charges. The survey found many were paying higher phone bills because they made simple mistakes while on holiday.
A fifth forgot to turn off their mobile’s data roaming function upon arrival, while one in seven were caught out by not switching off voicemail messaging.
This exposed them to fees, as some networks impose a charge for receiving a message – even if it is not picked up.
While EU data roaming is capped at 50 euros (£36), one in seven Britons wrongly believe it is free within member states.
One in six travellers even paid £100 or more on top of their normal bill last time they visited the continent, a study found
Many users were also hit because they mistakenly believed the country they were visiting was within the EU.
Four in ten wrongly thought Turkey was an EU country, while one in ten believed Morocco and Egypt were on the continent.
One in six Britons say they are so scared of big bills they now keep their phones switched off for their entire holiday.
Ernest Doku, of uSwitch.com said Britons were confused about what charges they might incur abroad.
‘Measures in place to financially protect UK mobile users abroad aren’t robust enough, and are too easily rendered ineffective,’ he said.
‘The networks’ cap of around €50 is clearly insufficient in that it only covers mobile data, and doesn’t extend to calls, texts and voicemail costs.’
Internet roaming charges within the EU were due to be scrapped by December, but will now stay until at least 2018 after EU member states said it could lead to higher bills for domestic customers.
Mr Doku said the move was ‘disappointing and frustrating’ for phone users.
He added: ‘Extending automatic caps to cover calls, texts and voicemails, as well as data, could be a simple solution that would encourage more people to feel comfortable using their mobiles abroad. Mobile networks don’t need to wait for the EU to make improvements.’