As most of you who follow me on Twitter (@landofjohn) will know, I have recently returned from a holiday to Spain where amongst being badly sun burned and suffering now I also leaned a number of new things such as the need for a real sat nav with maps (come on offline Google Maps) and had my eyes opened to the world of Mobile Data in another country.
Before going I did some research around the best and cheapest way to get data when in Spain and it turns out that the most sensible and inexpensive way to cover this need is simply to get a PAYG sim card locally. However, I decided to go against the grain (not by choice) and was forced to activate my o2 Data Roaming due to getting lost and needing a sat nav.
At £3 per mb this proved to be far from affordable but then I suppose I needed it so had no real option.
As soon as I activated the service I received a text:
Using the web in Europe costs £3 a meg. We’ll tell you when you have spent £20 and then again at £40. We won’t charge you more than £40 on your current bill and you can use up to 50meg.
Now this wasn’t too bad, at least now I could stop myself from hitting £40 thanks to the notification service offered… or so I thought as the next text I received read:
You’ve nearly hit your 50meg limit. If you want to use more see www.o2international.co.uk (free), for details.
I was now not only miffed that I didn’t get my alert telling me about my £20 spend but also intrigued to see what happened when I hit the suggested website and low and behold I got this:
You’ve hit your 50meg limit. If you want to use more go to www.o2international.com (free), for details.
Wow! I use a free website and it finishes off my remaining data allowance… something didn’t seem right here so when I got back home I decided to do some digging around on o2’s website and with their staff to see what happened.
Lynne McKenzie: When I was in Spain I was told i would be notified at £20 and £40
Lynne McKenzie: but I only got notified at £40
O2 : Veejay: Please wait and let me check this for you.
Lynne McKenzie: any luck?
O2 : Veejay: I’m checking your account notes. Please give me a minute.
Lynne McKenzie: thanks
Lynne McKenzie: it was by sms
O2 : Veejay: Thanks for waiting.
O2 : Veejay: I can see that you’ve been charged £33.34 for using 61.98 MB data while roaming in Spain.
O2 : Veejay: I’m sorry if you’ve not been notified when you reach £20.
Lynne McKenzie: I didnt want to pay that much
Lynne McKenzie: £40 is a lot for just 50mb
Lynne McKenzie: when it hit £20 I was cuttting it off
Lynne McKenzie: but I never got notified
O2 : Veejay: I’m discussing it with my Supervisor for you.
O2 : Veejay: Just for you, I’ve applied a credit of £8.
O2 : Veejay: This amount will be adjusted with your next bill.
Lynne McKenzie: So that takes it down to £25.34 which is still higher?
O2 : Veejay: I understand that. But, you’ve been charged correctly for your internet usage. I’ve discussed with my Supervisor and applied the £8 credit.
As you can read above, the conversation between me (acting as my wife as the contract is in her name) and o2 was a little confusing.
I seemed to use 61.98 mb of data which is 11.98 mb more than I was allowed to use yet I was charged £33.34 for usage. Now, admittedly my math skills are pretty poor but those numbers just don’t seem to add up to me. Based on charging of £3 per meg I should have been allowed 13.33 mb yet here I am using just over 4.5 times more than allowed for less than the £40 mentioned?
I decided to do some further digging and on the o2 website I found this:
Wow! I was sooo under-charged it’s unreal! Or is this just more conflicting information from o2? Yep you guessed it, more conflicting info as I later was able to find this too:
So now we were getting somewhere, I now know that the £6 per meg is for outside the EU but I was still only paying £3 when it quoted £3.07 on the website.
Now by this point I guess you are wondering why the hell I’m having a rant here, I was clearly undercharged according to the data on the website and what I used compared to what I was charged… well you are indeed correct, all of what I just said is true, I was undercharged however, and this is where my rant starts making sense, the issue herein lies that customers are being duped into paying more abroad and it seems they have nothing they can do about it.
So imagine if you go to a garage to get your car fixed and the mechanic says, if it costs more that £20 to replace the part then Ill let you know before fitting it and instead he fits it and charges £38.. does that seem normal? Well o2 seem to think that’s ok if the below excerpt is anything to go by.
Lynne McKenzie: If we went to a casino and I said go have fun and when you hit £20 of spending Ill let you know to see if you want to spend more but then I let you go and spend £60 and ask you for that £60 would you say thats fair?
O2 : Veejay: The maximum charge that can be occurred is up to £40.
Lynne McKenzie: ok change the figures to £40
Lynne McKenzie: the point and principle are the same
O2 : Veejay: I agree with your point. But, I’ve helped you with what best we can do from our end.
Lynne McKenzie: wait so you agree its wrong but wont fix it?
O2 : Veejay: Please understand that I’ve refunded half of the excess for which you’re correctly charged.
O2 : Veejay: I’d be happy if you could have a track of the usage by checking it online.
Lynne McKenzie: Eh?
Lynne McKenzie: Its not correct
Lynne McKenzie: its duping a customer into spending more
O2 : Veejay: I mean the charges are correct for your usage. As you did not get the text alert, I can only refund back with half of the extra charges.
So now not only are o2 saying that the charges for my usage were correct but also that they agree it’s wrong to not notify and charge more yet they still wont fix the problem :/
Am I the only one confused here? None the less I will pay the charges but I urge you all to ensure you track your data as best as you can and check it when you are billed to prevent yourself being in the same circumstance as myself.
Luckily though, this is all about to change and o2 have announced a new plan which goes into effect from next month which should see costs go down dramatically (or up depending on usage).