Let me set the scene first – phone wise, I’m basically your Grandma.
I’ve been with the same mobile phone company since I stopped being about that Pay As You Go life and started paying my own monthly phone bill.
Not because I’m loyal but because I was more than content with my ridiculously low phone bill (less than a tenner a month)and what I got from it and I’m not that big into phones as a whole.
I have unlimited texts as part of my bundle and I don’t phone people because, in an apparently very Millenial move, I find phone calls awkward and people tend to phone me instead of the other way round.
Anyway. Then I had the Hatchling and was apparently craving human contact in some or another. But basically, I got super complacent and 1) didn’t think to ever check my phone usage and 2) didn’t think to ever check my phone bill
What was I even looking at my bank for? I think it was something to do with my union. Which is why I’d gone back and realised that some of my phone bills had been a bit…high.
I mean, like from £10 to £50. What the heck?!
I logged into my account for literally the first time in forever and had an even worse shock.
My upcoming phone bill was in 3-digits.
And more than my full monthly mortgage payment.
What I did when I saw my ridiculously huge phone bill
I phoned the complaints service, admitted fault and begged for some sort of discount.
Which is probably not the snazzy personal finance blogger schmaltz you were expecting but bear in mind:
- I looked at my phone bill. I had made the calls….and gone over my allotted phone minutes. So it wasn’t an overcharge.
- It’s not that I am in a situation where I can’t afford the bill. I just really, really, really, REALLY don’t want to pay it 😬
- I’d been under the assumption that my Monthly Pay Plan was like Pay As You Go – soon as you run out, they cut you off. Nope. Not unless you specifically ask.
- In my ignorance of my phone situation, I wasn’t aware that my phone company charged 65p per minute over the given minutes. Why would I need to? I don’t call people…
- …unless we’re in the middle of a pandemic and several family members are easier to contact with mobile phone when I’m out and about walking the Hatchling when normally I would be too busy to – OH.
At the same time, the amount was more than any monthly phone plan they were offering. I was hoping to just pay the biggest amount of the biggest plan they had that would also cover the calls, if you know what I mean?
The complaints service lady (shout out to Julie) was very kind and did offer me a discount…but also pointed out that my case had been flagged and she wasn’t supposed to take any action on it.
I was SO prepared to bite her hand off for any sort of discount but she talked me off the edge and implied it might be a better situation to wait for the team that was handling it.
So I listened and didn’t take the £200 discount. (DISCOUNT. Not the total cost of the bill!).
What they did about my ridiculously huge phone bill
The team handling my case phoned me back after the weekend. It was a long one.
In a nutshell, they were happy to cancel the whole damn thing.
They did then try to upsell me to upgrade my bill (apparently my plan didn’t exist any more, lol) and also tried to throw in my internet deal as well (again, lol, this is why I don’t talk to my phone company if I can help it – it just costs me money. Normally.)
Apparently, that deal didn’t exist either.
So we agreed to switch it around a little bit to make it more legit (lol, I was just unable at this point) but then I got an immediate email saying I had to pay £50 for a call out charge for an installation that I didn’t need.
The person on the phone (shout out to Martin) assured me I did not need to pay this amount but I decide to get more notifications from them via email because my lesson is telling me to be hyper vigilant now as far as my phone is concerned.
But something has gone funky in the system because I still get a router that I don’t need and a lovely engineer that I don’t need turn up for installation purposes.
Which takes me to today (the 13/08).
What happened next – another bill?!
I go into my email aaaaaaaaaand….I’ve received a bill for £50 over my agreed costs.
GEE, I WONDER WHAT HAS HAPPENED HERE.
So again, another phone call, a lot of time on hold (whilst typing up this post #multitasking) and I finally get through to someone, explain the situation and am passed on to someone else.
The thing I find hardest is knowing where to go with my query, so I don’t mind the passing about thing even with the extended wait times. It’s gentle dancing time.
bore regale this new person with my tale and they do some tap tap tapping and agree that it was unnecessary but the bill has been produced and the amount will be debited so I have two options:
- Request for the amount to be put back in my account as credit or
- Cancel the direct debit and set up a new one for the new bill that they’re going to produce.
Lazy though I am, I’ve ended up going for option 2) (which reminds me – need to set up that new direct debit). And that I also phoned to find out if they’d take the old router for recycling but forgot to ask, GAH.
Even though my phone bill is fairly small, I try to remind myself that being on a monthly contract (even one that doesn’t give me a fancy phone every two years, that I can cancel whenever I want and that costs less than my monthly cake ‘n’ biscuit fund) is still a form of debt.
‘Cos if they can take whatever they like from my bank account after I’ve used their services, I start off the month owing them in a way, right?
My one and only blip on my credit history was when I lost my phone, changed my number and was late paying the bill on the lost phone because the person in the shop didn’t cancel the plan after I told them the phone was lost. £5.40 got me 6 years of rubbish credit options.
Do I think this is the end of this saga?
Do I heck.
I haven’t gotten a new bill produced for this month yet, so that sounds like it might be another phone call on the way where either they ask if I’ve been hacked/miffed/absconding with the money or me having to chase them up so they don’t put a weird mark on my credit history…again.
I’m back to being a terrible friend now and I’m not calling ANYONE (sorry Mum).
How about you?
Have you been calling people more these past few months?
Ever had to pay a lot to learn a lesson?