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ACM finds 14% of consumers have suffered bill shock

Around 14 percent of Dutch consumers have received an unexpectedly high phone bill in the past year. This is around EUR 50-85 million in unexpected costs each year, according to a blog posting by the regulator ACM ahead of the publication of a new study on ‘bill shock’.The regulator found that providers may be taking advantage of consumers’ inability to estimate accurately their usage. This leads some to taking a smaller package than needed, resulting in overage costs from high out-of-bundle fees.

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Some customers also over-estimate their usage and don’t use all their package, essentially paying for more than they need. Around 40 percent of consumers said they were always well within the limits of their plan. These unused allowances may be worth several tens of millions of euros each year, the ACM said. While this may be reassuring some customers that they won’t pay overage fees, the extra costs are a direct result of the tariff structure imposed by operators.

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