Homer Bill Shocked

Just last week a gentleman contacted me with a query about being charged £25 for calls to his voicemail on his new EE SIM only contract. He wasn’t aware that voicemail on EE isn’t free and they charge 40p a minute for a minute.

Over the years, I think that most of us have always thought of voicemail to be free with most plans but these days you have to look at not only which network offers free voicemail but at which individual SIM plan does. Also be aware that if you’ve run of out minutes on your allowance then you may be charged for calls to voicemail thereafter. This will happen on networks like O2 and Three unless you have an unlimited minutes plan. In fact, at the time of writing only Virgin Mobile offer totally free voicemail on their SIM Only plans.

Fortunately in this case the gentleman was able to get a refund from EE on those voicemail charges due to being a new customer and not being aware of those charges when he joined up.

We’ve probably all been there though. There are lots of charges for using your phone outside of your call, minutes and data allowances and sometimes we can experience a bill shock when we find out we’ve been charged an extortionate amount for something. The most common these days are being charged for data and roaming.

The items that you might be charged for are:

  • Voicemail Charges
  • Data
  • Picture Message
  • 08 Numbers
  • International Roaming
  • Calling Abroad
  • Texts
  • Minutes
  • Calls To 08 Numbers
  • Calls To Premium Rate Numbers Like X Factor (090)
  • Personal Numbers (0700,0701, Etc.)

I myself have been caught out with things like 08 numbers and it can be really difficult to find out what’s included within your allowance and what’s not. On SIMOnlyContracts.co.uk we’ve tried to do much of the research for you by providing outside allowance details however, we always recommend that you double check on the networks’ site for anything that you know might be relevant to your usage.

On the flip side it’s always good to use alternative ways to do some of things that you might get charged for, for example, some tips might be:

WiFi – Use your home wireless Internet to connect your smartphone, browse webpages, stream video and more. This is the easiest way to save on precious data allowance if you have a broadband connection at home. If you’re outside and running short of data then try to connect to a public Wi-Fi connection in a coffee shop or library if at all possible.

Messaging – It’s rare these days to be to run out of text messages given that most plans give you nearly unlimited texts however, Internet messaging services like What’s App can be a great alternative if you don’t have any left. In addition, they are great for sending photos, a much cheaper alternative to MMS messages that cost up to 40p a text. Email also works great for doing this too.

Calling 08 numbers – There are certain tariffs like Virgin’s VIP SIM only that include 08 numbers within their allowance so if you know you call a lot to these numbers then it would definitely be worth considering a switch. There are also websites like Say No to 0870 that list official, alternative numbers to the 08 numbers normally provided by companies.

Have you been affected by bill shock or other unexpected charges? Let us know your stories by commenting below.