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Emmerdale Fan Ran Up £1,158 Phone Bill Voting For Lucy Parteger In I'm A Celeb

14/08/2014 16:56 | Updated 22 May 2015

Emmerdale fan ran up £1,158 phone bill voting for Lucy Parteger in I'm a Celeb

A teenager ran up a staggering £1,158 phone bill after voting to save I'm A Celebrity contestant Emmerdale actress Lucy Pargeter 2,316 times.

Emmerdale superfan Nicole Hassall, 18, racked up the huge bill in just six hours to try to keep her idol in the jungle – but Lucy, who plays Chastity 'Chas' Dingle - only finished third.

The teenager made repeated calls to the ITV show's 50p premium rate number unaware her phone bill would soar as a result.

Her mum Eileen, 62, has been forced to use £250 earmarked for Nicole's Christmas presents to pay off the bill.

Eileen has now warned parents to be vigilant if their kids become hooked on primetime TV shows which encourage viewers to vote.

She said network provider Orange did not notify them until Saturday morning that Nicole had logged so many calls after Wednesday night's edition of the show.

Account holder Eileen first received a text warning her of a £350 bill, shortly followed by a further message which put the amount at £62.

Eileen, from Stoke-on-Trent, Staffs., said: "She had no idea what she was doing. Her phone said she still had minutes and texts left.

"I'm questioning that she could have made that many calls.

"It's absolutely disgusting that Orange didn't let me know what was happening. There's no way I'll be able to pay this."

Nicole, who has mild learning difficulties, said she was unaware the bill would be so high as she voted for Lucy to stay in the jungle.

She said: "I did vote but I really wanted Lucy or Kian from Westlife to win.

"I had no idea the bill would be this much. I'm really upset."

Orange said it took measures to avoid high charges but had waived half of the outstanding £908 bill.

A spokesman said: "We sympathise with Ms Hassall and have offered a 50 per cent reduction on her bill as a gesture of goodwill.

"To help customers avoid high charges from voting lines we terminated each of the calls after six seconds.

"However, as the customer in this instance continued to call the number for several hours additional charges were incurred."

An ITV spokesman said: "In the voting terms and conditions it says voters should only vote with the bill payer's permission. We are happy to explore this issue if we are provided with more information."

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