BBC In Business podcast costs print boss £1,400 to download
A businessman in the county who ran up a bill of £1,400 on his mobile phone by mistake has criticised his network for the way it has dealt with the charge.
David Pealing, of Severnprint in Gloucester, was hit with the bill from Orange on his smartphone, which he has for both business and personal use, and has continued to dispute the amount.
But after refusing to reduce the bill, the sales director said the network then cut off his team’s mobile phones when he cancelled the direct debit.
The 55-year-old had installed an RSS feed through a phone app in order to receive business podcasts.
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Mr Pealing said: “I didn’t do anything else but download it. I stopped the direct debit so they didn’t take the money out. Normally if a bill is in dispute you don’t have to pay it, but they cut all the phones off.
“We have paid the full amount because we had to and have been trying to get it back. I feel as though we have been badly treated by Orange. It’s a massive distraction and it comes at a time when we are just about to re-brand the business.”
David installed the RSS feed on his office-supplied Samsung and turned on the phone’s mobile data connection having followed instructions on the BBC website on how to receive “In Business” podcasts. The next day, he left it on his desk while he was with clients and it downloaded 2.2GB of data in just a few hours. He had not selected a data limiter on his phone and the company package with Orange did not cover large data downloads.
David said his smartphone had data limit options on it that he wasn’t aware of and said he was concerned for others who may unwillingly build up large bills.
A spokesman for Orange said the company had contacted Severnprint several times and spoke to an authorised account contact, of which Mr Pealing is one, to offer advice on the company’s specific bundle and explain how to avoid high charges.
Severnprint has 12 Orange handsets, which include two smartphones and David’s Samsung.
Two of Mr Pealing’s colleagues already ran up large bills for exceeding their data allowance. David said this was unintentional and downloads took place without the users’ consent in the early hours of the morning. Orange agreed to reduce these bills but said while it was happy to do this once, it had a policy not to do it again.
A spokesman for Orange said: “We do sympathise with customers who unknowingly run up high data bills, and when this happens we always provide guidance on how they can avoid high charges in future.
“In this instance we have spoken to the authorised account contact regarding unexpected data charges on several occasions.
“Only recently we have refunded data charges accrued by this account as a gesture of goodwill. We also provided guidance regarding the data costs that apply to their plan and how large bills can be avoided.
“We offer a range of plans to suit different needs, including plans designed for heavy data use. If any customers are unsure of the costs of data on their plan we strongly advise them to call our customer support team, who will be happy to provide them with any guidance they need.”
Mr Pealing continues to dispute the bill and has already approached communications watchdog Ofcom.