£50 cap for stolen phone bills

03 December 2013

Posted by Michelle Devonshire

A new cap is set to limit bills from stolen mobile phones to £50.

The changes are being enforced/introduced by culture secretary Maria Miller in an aim to treat mobile phones in a similar fashion to credit cards. Once reported stolen or lost, only as much as £50 can be billed to the owner.

These plans are similar to those announced by shadow communities minister Helen Goodman following a meeting with various mobile phone providers last month. So far, EE, Virgin Media, Three and Vodafone have agreed to the scheme.

Ms MIller said: "The last thing you need after the hassle of a stolen mobile is to find that someone has used it and landed you with a sky high bill too.

"Phone companies have listened to the government and to their customers and I welcome their agreement to protect them from unexpected costs and mid-contract price rises."

According to London's Metropolitan Police, the number of phones being stolen is on the rise. In the capital alone, over 10,000 devices are stolen every month. The organisation states the gadgets account for approximately half of all personal robbery offences and almost 80 per cent of theft cases.

Of all of these, it states iPhones equal around half of all stolen phones, which would be around 5,000 Apple devices per month.

As well as being an added security measure, the cap could prove to be a valuable marketing tool for phone companies. Ms Miller spoke to various businesses, but these four are the only ones to take it up and, from a consumer perspective, it can be argued this is a highly attractive offer.

The agreement, which is set to be implemented in spring next year, will also allow users to switch supplier mid-contract if prices rise. It will further cut roaming fees in 2016, hopefully saving customers money when outside their usual network or abroad.

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