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We can't live without our smartphones and other devices – they're essential tools and we love them. Sometimes, however, we're not quite so in love with the bill that arrives at the end of the month. Here's why unusually high bills happen, and how to stop the surprise from happening again!
Common reasons for unusually high bills:
- Using services such as voice, SMS or data more than normal.
- Finishing package or bundled services and continuing to use the device, so you are charged at out-of-bundle rates.
- Using your mobile device for international roaming without properly understanding the voice or data roaming charges.
- Not realising that your device is set up to automatically connect to data services to download updates for your apps, use cloud computing services to back up, etc.
- Losing your phone, or having it stolen, and a third party using the phone.
What to do if you receive a high bill:
First of all, consider who may have been using your device – has someone in your family been making calls or surfing the net? Maybe they have signed up for services or downloaded apps on your data without telling you.
Once you're sure this is not the case, contact Vodacom via the customer care centre (082111) to query the bill.
Tips for avoiding a high bill:
- Choose the most appropriate deal for your usage requirements and make sure that this remains relevant and appropriate.
- Make sure you understand your contract's terms and conditions. Always ask any questions you have about what's covered and what's not.
- Keep regular tabs on your usage and monitor charges and costs incurred. You can do this via the My Vodacom app.
- When using your devices as a portable hotspot, ensure that only allowed devices are capable of sharing data connections. That stops unauthorised people from using your data.
- Bar calls to international numbers and inhibit premium-rated services via SMS, USSD and real-time access billing.
- Being cautious when roaming internationally – it can cost considerably more than it does at home. Check out our story about Vodacom's great value roaming options. Turn off all your automatic updates or consider deactivating data roaming altogether. Wherever possible, use local Wi-Fi hotspots.
Lost or stolen devices
If you don't report your phone lost or stolen, you could be liable for the charges run up by the thief – so report it as soon as it goes missing!
Safeguard your devices and prevent unauthorised access or use by:
- Keeping your devices safely with you at all times or locked away when not in use.
- Setting a strong security code or password on the device.
- Always using the PIN request feature with your SIM card.
- Keeping a record of the IMEI (International Mobile Equipment Identity) number of the device – you can find your device's IMEI number by dialing *#06#
- Downloading a security or locator app that will enable you to lock the device remotely, trace the lost or stolen device and / or remotely back up and clear (wipe) your information from the device. You can use Find my iPhone, or this option from Google.
- Reporting a lost or stolen device: Simply contact Vodacom Customer Care on 082111. You'll need the mobile number and serial number (IMEI) of the device as well as your personal authenticating information. Check out our story about what to do if you lose your phone.