The European Parliament forced mobile firms to lower the prices of making a call or downloading data abroad from July this year. It seems that the mobile firms (well O2 certainly) have found a way around this and to protect their revenue.

Under new rules agreed by the European Parliament, consumers should pay no more than 24p per minute to make a call and 59p per megabyte for data downloads across Europe.

“Consumers are fed up with being ripped off,” said commissioner Neelie Kroes.
Well Neelie, it appears that you didn’t allow for the creativity of O2 et al…

From July 1st, instead of paying 7p per minute to receive a call when in Europe (The rate to receive calls if you opt out) you pay a connection fee of 50p so if your call is under 7 minutes you’ve immediately lost out as have you if the call was a call you didn’t want i.e. sales call from someone trying to help you claim back mis-sold PPI or to buy a new contract phone from them. A call you could have ended in less than 30 seconds.

To make a call also attracts a 50p connection fee and the minutes are deducted from your inclusive minutes.

There is a solution (on O2). You can text “No Travel” to 23336 to opt out. Then you’ll pay 7p per minute to receive a call, 28p to make a call, 8p to send texts, nothing to receive texts and data downloads at 69p / Mb.

What seems a little dubious to me is that all contract customers have been automatically Opted In to O2’s own new pricing scheme and that it is necessary to Opt Out in order that you can benefit from the rates set by the EU to protect customers being “ripped off”.

O2, is that any way to treat your own customers?