Expensive surfing abroad: do not give in
Ralf Beyeler is the comparis.ch
16 August 2012 - Communication
The holidays are long gone, leaving behind the happy memories of relaxing, sunny days at the beach in a far-off land. However, the pleasure soon vanishes with the arrival of a huge mobile bill for several thousand francs.
Using mobile Internet abroad – so-called data roaming – is a massive problem. Many customers do not realise how much more expensive it is to surf abroad. In Switzerland a data transfer of 100 MB rarely costs more than 10 francs. Throughout the rest of Europe, in contrast, this can cost as much as 1560 francs depending on the provider. Some customers also use their smartphones more on holiday than they do at home. They navigate using Google Maps or listen to Swiss radio programmes via the Internet.
If such a bill does arrive then customers should contact their network operator immediately. In many cases it is worth negotiating with the provider and refusing to give in. If the firm will not budge, then customers should request arbitration from the ombudsman for telecommunications – Ombudscom. This process is free for customers.
Huge bills can be a particular problem for Orange customers. There are cases in which Orange customers have only been informed after they have already racked up costs of 5000 francs. Unfortunately, Orange does not warn customers if they are incurring costs like this. Few customers are prepared to pay around a month's salary for using their smartphone abroad. So a warning would be nice.
It doesn't have to be like this, as Swisscom and Sunrise prove: data roaming is blocked automatically if a private customer exceeds the limit of 200 francs (Swisscom) or 300 francs (Sunrise) while surfing abroad. This is a great, customer-friendly solution.