MSE news: Complaints over erroneous iPhone data roaming charges

in Mobiles
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This is the discussion thread for the following MSE News Story:

"Users have incurred fees for internet browsing abroad even when that function had been turned off ..."

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  • This happened to me 3 weeks ago. I took my iPhone with me on a 2 week holiday to visit friends on Grenada in the Caribbean.

    I read the O2 website before I left to make sure I knew what to do and so made sure I turned data roaming off whilst I was still in the UK. Our friends had wireless broadband in their house so I was able to connect to that and use my phone for texts and data whilst abroad. I didn't make any phonecalls and didn't turn data roaming back on until I was back in the UK.

    When I received my next bill I was puzzled to see that there was one amount of £2.59 for 350kb of data use on 30th March, in the middle of the holiday.

    I didn't query it at first partly because it was such a small amount and partly because I assumed I must have done something I'd forgotten about. Now, I'm wondering if there is a more general problem with the iPhone or the ISP that caused this. I think that I rebooted the phone on one occasion, whilst away, and I wonder if it is possible that in reconnecting, a small data exchange took place.

    I have emailed support at O2 to ask them to investigate.
  • amsquaredamsquared Forumite
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    I was advised by O2 last year that if you lose the Wireless signal the phone automatically reverts to 3G or Edge or whatever the local phone network has for data. Even at home I notice the the iphone can lose my Wireless signal for short periods as I wander about the house so this could cause data charges.
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  • jebluesjeblues Forumite
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    I read an article on another site that when you connect via wifi it registers the phone's mac address and that address is registered to the network you are on, is this true and if it is could this explain the charges
  • ec9wrrec9wrr Forumite
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    I've been suffering from data charges since June last year!
    Every time I go away, I do the following:
    Data roaming off
    Location services off
    Push off
    Delete my email account
    3G off
    Turn airplane mode on and only turn off when I need to use my phone

    I then use wifi where available. However, according to o2, when I use wifi if I go out of range of wifi the phone will automatically start using the GSM mobile network for data even though it's switched off.

    So far they've refunded for the 6 or 7 times that it's happened. They've given me a new SIM card and even a new phone. It still happens though.
    There is now a note on my account to refund data. Each time it happens I have to call to arrange a refund.
    They're now saying that to avoid data charges I shouldn't use free wifi whilst abroad either!
  • dgbdgbdgbdgb Forumite
    2 Posts
    Just returned from two weeks in USA with enable 3G and data roaming switched off in the UK before going. I only used the phone for 2G calls and browsing using wifi.

    Bill shows £9.08 on data usage.

    Have to say I found the inability to use 3G and data whilst abroad really annoying. It's when you most need to use the location and mapping services and walking around with an expensive device that can't be used is annoying.

    I could not find a way to get unlimited internet use in the USA as pay as you go despite checking the internet and various deals. And the O2 offer (£50 for 50 Megabytes of data) is not very appealing - I've done 50 Megs in a day in the UK. I'm retired and simply can't afford to pay business rates - the iPhone tariffs are already far too high. I would however be prepared to pay £40 for a months unlimited data use when abroad.
  • I was so pleased to read the forum about iphone charges in the USA. I religiously turn off data roaming as I am able to connect to wifi when I'm there so was very surprised to see I had run up a bill on top of my excessivse monthly charge. I phoned O2 and they offered a refund - no questions asked. I naturally thought I had done something wrong. Thank you very much for all the information. I'm going again soon, so I shall certainly keep an eye on this problem. :T
  • a6va6v Forumite
    16 Posts
    I have been charged for overseas data roaming even though I always keep the data roaming turned off..

    When I spoke to O2 yesterday their "iPhone expert" kept on insisting that when iPhone is used on Wi-Fi overseas and if for any reason the connection is dropped then iPhone will automatically switch over to mobile network and over rule the data roaming settings, they say its a iPhone feature not controlled by O2. Quoting this reason they refused to provide any credit back. I then spoke to apple UK and they laughed on O2's statement. Apple confirmed that under no circumstances iPhone can change the setting and if Wi-Fi is dropped then it wont cut over to mobile network.

    So if anyone gets a quick refund then take it and if they throw crap at you then you can tell them that Apple have confirmed that its not a feature of iPhone rather a O2 billing issue.


    I have sent a complaint letter to O2 quoting Apple case ID. Awaiting their response now. I will come back to update once I hear back from O2
  • Apologies if this is a really dumb question but wanted to ask

    My teenage daughter wants to take her smart phone with us on holiday to europe next month. Initally I agreed along as the data was switched off and she just used wifi hotspots. now I am concerned with regard to the possibility of erroneous data charges. If she was to leave her sim card behind in the uk ( she is not that bothered about receiving calls or texts) and took the phone just for her to use when wifi was available would this negate any possibility of charges. I assume it would, or does the fact that the phone is linked to her account mean if data turned itself on she could be charged.

    Many thanks for any advice.

    Ang
  • ashleyprideashleypride Forumite
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    ang_s wrote: »
    I assume it would

    Yes, that's correct. Make sure you test the phone without a sim in first, some phones refuse to even startup.
  • chorltonchorlton Forumite
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    interesting - that happened to me last year in Italy.

    I turned off Data Roaming before i left UK and a few days into my break was surprised to see that a couple emails had downloaded.
    We were in a very rural area, barely even a phone signal - so I assumed that i must have passed a house with unlocked wi-fi.
    When i got home i had been charged a a couple of pounds which i just accepted because it wasn't worth the hassle to chase it up.
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