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Brits paying out £489m a year in extra mobile phone charges

·2-min read
Attractive caucasian brunette dressed in beige sweater sitting on bed in bedroom and using smart phone.
A fifth of UK mobile phone users never check their bills, new research has found. Photo: Getty

A third (32%) of Brits have faced extra mobile phone charges over the past year, coming to a total of £489m ($635.7m), according to a study.

UK consumers paid an average of £38.90 on top of their regular payment during the past 12 months, according to a survey of 2,000 UK adults by

International roaming charges were the most costly unexpected charges, with 7% of bill-payers shelling out average fee of £24 over the course of the year.

Some 8% of Brits were charged for making international calls at an average cost of £21.90. Spending on in-game currency for video games played on mobile phones cost people £21.80.

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More than one in 10 (11%) phone users were charged for calling a premium rate number, while 10% had to pay extra for going over their data allowance.

Despite so many Brits racking up unexpected charges, almost half (47%) of mobile users say they don’t check their bill every month and a fifth (19%) admitted to never checking their bills.

A fifth (22%) attributed extra fees on their bill to someone else who had access to their phone. Over half of those (56%) blame their tech-savvy children, with kids across the UK responsible for adding a total of £60m to their parents’ phone bills.

Ru Bhikha, telecoms expert at, said: “At a time when millions of Britons are watching what they spend in other areas, it’s a surprise that so many are taking their eye off the ball when it comes to their phone. Keeping on top of your mobile costs is a good place to start when watching your pennies, and you should get into the habit of checking your bill every month.

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“If you find yourself regularly facing unexpected charges, it’s worth having a chat with your network provider. They might have another tariff which suits your needs better, or they could tell you exactly how you’re incurring the extra costs and give you pointers on what to avoid.

“Meanwhile those who suspect their children of being behind the unexpected charges could try unsaving their card details, or turn on parental controls to stop little fingers racking up a big bill.”

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