07/07/2014 12:54 BST | Updated 20/05/2015 10:12 BST

Teenager Ran Up £9,000 Mobile Phone Bill Using Facebook On Holiday



If you're going on holiday soon, learn from this family's very expensive mistake – and check, check and triple-check that the data roaming on your child's mobile device is disabled.

For stepdad David Mason learned the hard way when he received a £9,000 bill after his teenage stepdaughter returned from a holiday with her mum in Antigua.

Understandably, the girl was keen to share her exotic holiday with her friends on Facebook.

But the first David – who funds his stepdaughter's mobile contract – heard about it was when he received a text back home in Gloucester saying she had hit £50 in roaming charges.

David had thought she had been disconnected from her UK network and that she was updating her profile by WiFi, she was in fact still connected to the local mobile provider - leaving the family thousands of pounds in debt.

But when his stepdaughter (who doesn't want to be identified) and her mother Tracey, 46, returned from their trip, David got a huge bill for £5,400 from Orange, and four weeks later another for £3,500.

David, 48, said: "I was shocked when the first bill for £5,400 arrived. The phone contract was in my name but I was in England at the time and got a message saying roaming charges had hit £50.

"Orange asked if I wanted to opt out of roaming charges. I said 'yes' and told Tracey but the phone was still connected to the Jamaica roaming network without them knowing.

"She had no idea she was racking up this massive bill."

After the holiday in March, David initially paid off £5,400 of the bill and refused to pay the rest claiming the mobile phone giant has failed in its duty of customer care.

He contacted Citizens Advice Bureau and regulator Ofcom has also been investigating.

But last week Orange cut the bill to £500 and agreed to refund the money it had already received.

A spokesman said: "We know our customers want to use their phones while they're on holiday and that's why we offer a wide range of bundles.

"In this instance, Mr Mason chose to not purchase a bundle and actively opted out of the £50 roaming cap that is automatically applied to prevent high bills.

"As a gesture of goodwill, we have retrospectively applied the appropriate bundles to reflect his data usage."