Bills cap for phone theft victims

Mobile phone users whose handsets are stolen will no longer be hit with "shock bills" when a new cap on the maximum value of calls they will be expected to pay for comes into force next spring under an agreement between ministers and four operators.

Labour: Phone bills cap should not be voluntary

Labour criticised the Government's new measures to cap mobile phone bills for victims of handset theft as "not strong enough protection" for consumers, because it relies on voluntary participation from phone companies.

Read: What phone users can expect from 'shock' bills cap

By relying on a voluntary approach they are not giving strong enough protection to consumers, who too often face phone rip-offs.

Labour has clear plans that the Government should implement now.

Caps on charges run up on stolen phones should be fixed at £50.The companies should also be required to give people warnings when reaching limits on texts and phone call and concrete steps should be taken on the recycling of handsets.

– Helen Goodman, Labour’s Shadow Communications Minister

The measures, set to be introduced next spring, include a break-off clause if call prices rise mid-contract, but Ms Goodman said this will "fail" most people with phone contracts.

"Existing fixed contracts should be fixed – introducing ‘fixed means fixed’ from January will fail most mobile users."

Miller: Mobile deal protects families from price hikes

Culture Secretary Maria Miller said the Government's new deal with telecoms providers will help to prevent families with mobile phones being hit with surprise price rises mid-contract.

Read: What phone users can expect from 'shock' bills cap

We are ensuring hard-working families are not hit with shock bills through no fault of their own.

Families can be left struggling if carefully planned budgets are be blown away by unexpected bills from a stolen mobile or a mid-contract price rise.

This agreement with the telecoms companies will deliver real benefits to consumers and help ensure people are not hit with shock bills.

– Culture Secretary Maria Miller

Read: Phone theft victims to be protected from 'shock bills'

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What phone users can expect from 'shock' bills cap

Here are details of the new measures to protect mobile phone users from "shock bills", which are expected to be enforced from next spring

  • A new liability cap - expected to be £50 - on mobiles that are lost or stolen
  • A right to be informed if prices rise mid-contract
  • A right to break off the contract without penalty if they don't want to pay higher rates
  • BT, Sky and TalkTalk have agreed to support Government efforts to eliminate EU roaming charges by 2016.

Read: Phone theft victims to be protected from 'shock bills'

Phone theft victims to be protected from 'shock bills'

Mobile phone users whose handsets are stolen will no longer be hit with "shock bills" when a new cap on the maximum value of calls they will be expected to pay for comes into force next spring.

Victims of mobile phone theft will be protected from 'shock bills' if their handsets are stolen. Credit: PA

The Government has struck the deal with four major mobile companies - EE, Three, Virgin Media and Vodafone, as well as communications providers BT, Sky and TalkTalk.

It marks the latest move by ministers to help households struggling to pay their bills, following accusations by Labour leader Ed Miliband that the UK is suffering a "cost of living crisis".

Read: Text messaging comes of age