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Travellers bitten by global roaming charges, especially for smartphone Internet and app usage, have shot up by 80 percent according to the Australia’s Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman.
The TIO’s 2010 annual report cited ‘bill shock’ following an overseas trip, and excessive monthly charges due to surcharges on over-plan data downloads, as a major issue for consumers.
“Disputes about internet downloads over mobile devices were up 70 per cent and cases about the calculation or imposition of global roaming charges were up 80 per cent” observed Ombudsman Simon Cohen. “We think that’s a particular area where giving good information to consumers would reduce the prospect of them ending up with unexpected charges.”
Teresa Corbin, CEO for peak consumer body Australian Communications Consumer Action Network, said that bill shock remains the “fastest-growing problem area” for mobile phone users.
“Consumers need the ACMA (Australian Communications and Media Authority) to act now to curb bill shock and credit management issues before they end up spiralling out of control in the same way mobile premium services did five years ago.”
The number of complaints in 2009-2010 increased for mobile carriers Vodafone, 3 and Virgin Mobile but were down for Telstra and Optus.