Bill cap for phone crime victims a relief, Citizens Advice says
A cap on mobile phone bills will come as a “much-needed relief” to many victims of crime caught out by phone fraudsters, Citizens Advice has said today, having called on the Government to fulfil its promise of this since last year.
The Government and the five main phone providers have announced caps of £100 on bills from stolen mobiles.
Citizens Advice is also urging mobile phone companies to look at compensating those who have lost out since the cap was originally due to be in place in spring 2014, as well as those who may be hit by these bills before the caps take effect later this year.
Gillian Guy, chief executive of Citizens Advice, said:
“Victims of phone crime should not be paying excessive bills run up by thieves. A cap on bills from stolen mobile phones will come as much-needed relief to consumers targeted by phone fraudsters. Citizens Advice has been calling for a cap to be put in place after helping consumers landed with bills as high as £23,000.
“We will be keeping a close eye on the phone providers’ caps to see if they do really protect phone crime victims from the worst bills. Consumers who sought Citizens Advice’s help since the cap was due to be in place a year ago have lost as much as £140,000.
“Since the caps will not come into effect immediately, phone companies should look into reimbursing consumers caught out before the planned dates and over the last year.”
Citizens Advice estimated that as many as 160,000 people a year may be hit by shock bills from lost or stolen phones and a lack of protection could cost victims up to £4 million each year.
The charity released a new report, Calling the shots? on Friday with research showing that the victims of phone crime seeking Citizens Advice’s help had lost £140,000 between April 2014 and February 2015.
Notes to editors:
- The Citizens Advice service comprises a network of local bureaux, all of which are independent charities, the Citizens Advice consumer service and national charity Citizens Advice. Together we help people resolve their money, legal and other problems by providing information and advice and by influencing policymakers. For more see the Citizens Advice website.
- The advice provided by the Citizens Advice service is free, independent, confidential, and impartial, and available to everyone regardless of race, gender, disability, sexual orientation, religion, age or nationality.
- To find your local bureau in England and Wales, visit citizensadvice.org.uk. You can also get advice online at adviceguide.org.uk
- You can get consumer advice from the Citizens Advice consumer service on 03454 04 05 06 or 03454 04 05 05 for Welsh language speakers
- Citizens Advice Bureaux in England and Wales advised 2.3 million clients on 5.4 million problems from October 2013 to September 2014. For full 2013/2014 service statistics see our quarterly publication Advice trends
- Citizens Advice service staff are supported by more than 21,000 trained volunteers, working at over 3,000 service outlets across England and Wales.