7 July 2011
The Finnish Consumer Agency is concerned about the surprise costs generated by data services. Smartphones have caused unexpected costs to consumers who have not been sufficiently knowledgeable about the features of their mobile phones. For many, the problem has become evident only after receiving their phone bill that has contained the charge for the use of data services.
Most consumers today are using phones that offer access to data services provided by the operator, including the opportunity to browse web pages, use email or download photos or games.
If the consumer is unaware of this possibility, he or she may access the services by accident, for example by clicking on an icon. Moreover, the mobile phone or the software downloaded to it can include a default setting for the phone to access the internet automatically to look for updates, for example.
If the consumer does not have a data service contract with a fixed monthly charge, the use of data services is normally charged based on the amount of data transmitted or the amount of time spent online. In situations like these, the costs from the use of the phone can become much higher than what was expected by the consumer based on the monthly package offered by the operator. Because the consumer may not be able to track down the data services used from the information provided in the invoice, he or she may not be able to avoid their use in the future, either.
Check the features and settings of your phone
- If you are unsure about the features you have on your mobile phone, check the manual or the settings of the phone or contact the shop that sold you the phone. It is the responsibility of the vendor to let you know about the features of the phone as well as the possible risks involved in its use. It is worthwhile to go through these questions in the sales situation every time you buy a new phone.
- If you have not used data services before but would like to start using them, find out the price for using them from your operator. If necessary, make a separate contract for the use of data services.
- Go through the features of your child’s phone with your child and establish clear rules for the use of data services. Also, take up the matter with elderly people close to you if needed.
- If you are certain that you do not wish to use data services, you can protect yourself from the extra cost by requesting a data service block from your operator. Another option for controlling the costs is establishing a credit limit for the contract. These services can be selected for use both in Finland and abroad.