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Jo C.
Jo C., Barrister
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 71039
Experience:  Over 5 years in practice
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i have been charged an exorbitant amount on a cell phone that

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i have been charged an exorbitant amount on a cell phone that is being used by my daughter. She switched on a "Bolt on" which allowed her phone to be "open on unlimited data abroad". we were on holiday in SA and she was not aware she was switching such a thing ON, she thought she was switching data ON and OFF again. my cellphone provider has now charged me 18,563 pounds usage whilst abroad.
I concede that was done on a phone that I am responsible the phone is being used by my daughter and she made an honest mistake. O2 do not want to listen to my please and what gets to me is that, there was never a security question that was asked which allowed my daughter to opt into such an expensive arrangement and also whem my charges reached unacceptable proportions NO ONE bothered to call or text alerting us to the huge bill we have accumulated or about to accumulate. Wjhat are my options, I do not have 18 grands to pay
Thank you question. My name is ***** ***** I will try to help with this.
Does your contract contain any clause that binds them to notify of unusual activity?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

I am not sure about that since I didn't look into my contract in detail, however, I still think its unfair business practice to allow my bill to reach such heights without anyone notifying me.

I suspect that someone was not doing his or her job because it was only on the 02 January 2015 that this phone was disconnected when someone noticed such high bills. I still maintain that it was unfair business practice to allow my bill to reach such proportions when I have not even paid more than 300 pounds on my three combined phones with O2

Oh yes, it may well be unfair. Unfortunately that is not the test. The test is whether or not it is lawful.
Ultimately if this data has been used then they can charge . There is not usually an obligation upon them to notify people of their data usage abroad I'm afraid.
The only legal challenge would be under UCTA and then you would have to find a term that is 'unfair' within the meaning of the act. It is a very high test. Usually with these things the terms are not unfair of themselves. I do think the companies are being a little mischievous in sitting back and allowing people to run up bills when they could just notify them of their usage but that doesn't amount to a legal challenge per se.
You can always complain to the Ombudsman. Realistically O2 are likely to do some form of deal with you over this. I know that companies like Vodafone will sometimes wipe all these charges. Whether 02 wil is another matter. They are probably quite well aware that they are not likely to receive £18 k from you any time soon as that is an amount of money that most people just don't have.
I wouldn't negotiate over the phone with them though. I would put everything in writing. It is much more likely to reach somebody with the power to make decisions then.
The only other means of challenging this is to check your contract carefully and try to find a way in which they are in breach. You do not seem to be saying that at this stage though but either breach or UCTA is the only way of challenging this.
Sorry if that is bad news.
Can I clarify anything ?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Thank you encouraging words. I would like to know what UCTA is and where can i access it, in the meantime i will check my contract.

Also, how do i complain to the Ombudsman since i am not familiar with the UK set-up, I am a working as a Diplomat hence i would like to know what my options are since i really cannot afford this kind of money.

I still feel that O2 was in the wrong by allowing my daughter to run up such a bill without even texting or calling, in fact, i was asked by one of their customer services people whether or not i was informed about this high bill, it could be that their practice dictates that they should inform their customers. Also, the fact that O2 could allow anyone to add a bolt that will attract huge bills without asking any security questions is reckless business practice.

My daughter made an honest mistake and i should not be punished like this since O2 should bear some of the responsibility on this mishap...they did not ask security questions and they did not alert me to the high bills that were being charged.

Please advice as to whether i should escalate the matter to the Ombudsman right away or should write some formal complaint to O2. i have read somewhere in the website of the Ombuds that, an aggrieved consumer must allow a period of 8 weeks between the complainant and the service provider before it can be escalated to the Ombuds.

My apologies late reply, i was urgently called into a meeting.
Personally I would negotiate with 02 first. Apart from anything else, you can use the threat of complaining to negotiate with them.
Reasonableness test at S11.
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