I've been charged unexpectedly, what next?

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If you have an unexpected charge on your phone bill and want to find out what it is for, you’ll need to contact the service provider first. The service provider should be able to explain the charges, what service you used and when, and stop any unwanted charges. The service provider is responsible for handling complaints about the service, including requests for refunds. 

I don’t know who charged me, how do I find that out?
There are three ways to find out who the service provider is and how to contact them:

  • usually you will find the service provider listed on your phone bill, although sometimes you might see a number instead. You can enter that number into our Service checker to find out which service provider has charged you and how to contact them.
  • if you received any text messages about the service mentioning a shortcode or service name, you can enter either of these in our Service checker to find out which service provider has charged you and how to contact them
  • ask your mobile network provider who charged you for the service and how to contact them. 

Can I stop the charges for a phone-paid service?
Yes, you can text the service provider to stop charges, but don't just hit reply. Text 'STOP ALL' to the number which they give you.

I’ve been charged unexpectedly, can I get a refund?
If you believe you have been charged for a phone-paid service and are entitled to a refund, talk to the service provider who charged you in the first instance. Ask them for proof of purchase, message logs, promotional material or anything else that will show what service you used and paid for. 

If after speaking to the service provider you’re still unhappy with the outcome, speak to your mobile network provider who may be able to look into this for you or report your issue to us.
 
Can’t the PSA help me get a refund?
We are a regulator, not an ombudsman or arbitrator. We aren't here to take up individual cases. Instead, as a regulator we look at issues across the market; we constantly monitor the services in the market to make sure services are compliant with our Code of Practice and consumers are not harmed. Our rules make it very clear that:

  • services must be transparent and priced clearly - it should be clear what you are buying
  • sign up to the service should be clear - you should not be misled into a purchase
  • your complaints must be resolved quickly and easily.  

If you used a phone-paid service that didn’t respect any of the rules above, you can report a service to us and we will look into it. We check every issue that you report to us and take action when we need to. Most of the time, we can solve the issue by talking to service providers. But sometimes a firmer approach is needed and that’s when we launch an investigation, issue fines, order refunds to be paid to eligible consumers or prohibit companies and individuals from operating in the market.  See here the latest companies we’ve investigated and taken to a Tribunal.

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