How to Fight iPhone Data Roaming Charges

Contest an excessive phone bill

What to Know

  • Send an email to your phone company including your account details, the disputed amount, and what resolution you seek.
  • If you don't get a satisfactory response, submit a complaint through your relevant consumer affairs office.
  • To avoid data roaming charges, disable roaming in your phone settings, or get an international data plan from your phone company.

This article explains how to avoid high roaming charges and how to dispute roaming fees on your iPhone bill.

How to Fight iPhone Roaming Bills

If you're facing a big iPhone data roaming bill and want to avoid paying the whole thing, follow these tips. We can't promise that they'll get you out of paying, but these tips will give you a fighting chance.

  1. Create a clear list with the following information:

    • Your account name and number.
    • Your monthly phone plan type.
    • Your monthly phone plan inclusions and features.
    • Any phone plan extras that you added.
    • The amount of the roaming overage you want to contest (list both the amount of the charge and the data used).
  2. Compile the documents that support the above list, for example, your original phone contract, the bill you're contesting, and other related paperwork.

  3. On another sheet of paper, write down exactly why you are disputing the bill. Acceptable reasons include incorrect charges or misleading information or advice.

    I don't have the money, I can't pay, it's ridiculous, and similar reasons are not good arguments to make.

  4. Write down your plan of attack. For example, email customer service; if that fails, contact consumer affairs or protection; if that fails, seek legal advice.

  5. Write a draft email. Include all relevant account details, the disputed amount, the reasons why you are disputing, and what resolution you seek.

  6. Mention what step you will take if you find their response unsatisfactory. Don't threaten, inform. For example, "I have contacted consumer affairs and pending an unacceptable response I will be pursuing the matter further." Also include the following line towards the end of your email: "I would like to continue all correspondence related to this matter via email so I have an accurate and complete record of our conversations."

  7. Re-read the draft email. Do not threaten or use abusive or foul language. Get someone else to read it and give feedback. Is it polite, firm, and clear? Did you explain exactly what you are disputing and why? Words like "misleading," "outrageous," and "disgusted" are all strong and evocative. Include them if applicable and appropriate.

  8. Send your email to the complaints department at your phone company and wait for a response. If they call, state you won't discuss the matter over the phone and all correspondence should be through email as indicated. If you have not received a response after five business days, resend the email.

  9. When the company replies, decide whether their response is:

    • Acceptable and reasonable (you got what you wanted).
    • Unacceptable but reasonable (they offered you a decent deal).
    • Unacceptable and unreasonable (they won't negotiate).

    Now you have to decide when the company's offer is worth accepting. There may not be a price you have in mind, but rather a principle.

  10. If you don't get a satisfactory answer, inform the company of this. Explain why it's not good enough and again inform them that you are taking the matter to consumer affairs. Now lodge a complaint through your relevant consumer affairs office and take it from there.

  11. Finally, seek legal advice and pursue it.

Keep a record of everything (emails included). Be prepared to fight for the principle of it. You will hit a few roadblocks, and the company is counting on you giving up because of them. Be calm, polite, and reasonable.

What Causes Big iPhone Data Roaming Bills?

The monthly plans that iPhone users purchase for making calls and using data on their phones are for use only in their country. Unless you specifically get a plan with international features, making calls or using data outside your home country isn't part of your monthly costs. As a result, when you go to another country and use your iPhone, you're immediately in roaming mode (that is, roaming outside your home country and off of your home phone company network). Phone companies charge high fees for calls and data while in roaming mode, and that's what causes the high bills after trips.

International travel is exciting, but if you're not careful your international trip can include iPhone data roaming charges that add up to hundreds or thousands extra on your monthly phone bill. But because these charges appear on your bill doesn't mean you're stuck having to pay them.

How to Avoid iPhone Data Roaming Charges

The best way to avoid having to contest a bill for data roaming is to avoid roaming in the first place. One simple way to do this is to get an international data plan from your phone company before you leave on your trip. Contact your phone company and they can help you.

Alternatively, there are ways to avoid data roaming bills by changing settings on your phone.

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