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Tips to avoid unexpected charges on your bill

by on ‎29-04-2019 15:29 - last edited on ‎27-08-2019 13:46 by Community Manager (58,779 Views)

There is nothing worse than finding yourself with a bill which is higher than expected.

This guide will show you ways to avoid this wherever possible.

Listed below are some of the ways to help limit expenditure. They will be discussed in greater detail throughout the guide.





(Only applicable if you have taken out a contract since Oct 1st 2018)

You can now choose to apply a Spend Cap with your monthly tariff, to help control your spend on out-of-bundle charges. Any chargeable usage outside your monthly allowance or outside of any Bolt On allowance will count towards your Spend Cap.


▶ More info here - SPEND CAPS




*Going over your monthly allowances of texts and minutes is the most common reason for a high bill

*Making calls, sending texts or using data outside of our Europe Zone

*Using your phone to make a purchase, such as buying wifi on train

*Making calls to non-geographical or premium rate phone numbers

*Calling a directory enquiry service.

*Sending texts to premium rate services, such as voting in a TV competition

(You can contact customer services and ask them to place a Premium Bar on your account. This will stop calls to premium rate numbers, 090, 070 etc).




CHARGE TO MOBILE (Restrict Usage)


Charge to Mobile is a way of buying digital content. If you are Pay Monthly the charge will go on your bill. If Pay As You Go, the money will be taken out of your credit.


If you want to avoid these charges completely, you need to call Customer services and ask them to apply a bar to CHARGE TO MOBILE. Just remember if you do want to use the service in future you will have to ask for the bar to be lifted.


▶ More Info here - CHARGE TO MOBILE 

▶ Community Guide here: CHARGE TO MOBILE & PREMIUM SMS (GUIDE)




Sending a simple text (SMS) can easily cost more if it converts to MMS.

An emoticon/emoji is a smiley face 🙂 , a thumbs up 👍, a heart ❤️ or any other tiny picture that many people like to add to their SMS messages.


Adding an emoticon by itself won’t, in many cases, force the message into MMS format, but, what it will do, is eat up your character count.

A simple smiley face or wink will use 90 characters.

With this in mind it is easy to see how just by adding 3 emoticons actually reduces your character count to only 210 letters (that’s not much!)

You can avoid this by inserting a smiley using keyboard characters rather than hitting the emoticon key and choosing a picture. A smile can be written as : ) or a wink as ; ) 

If possible turn character count on within your phone's settings when composing a text.


▶ More Info here -  AVOID MMS




Wherever possible turn Mobile Data off and use Wifi.

There are apps you can use which enable you to keep in touch with family and friends over Wifi.

Messenger and Whatsapp are just two of these. They also save on your call and text minutes.

Important to remember the people you want to contact MUST have these apps installed.

* Another important point: If you want to use emoticons or gifs etc, these are free when you use WiFi apps.

These apps can be used on Android, Iphones and Windows phones. Also available for use on PC's


You can also use free WiFi in many bars, cafes and restaurants etc.


▶ More Info here -  MESSENGER  - WHATSAPP


**Using Wifi when abroad (outside of the EU) will certainly reduce any charges you may incur.


There is an additional guide on making better use of mobile data.


▶ More info here - MOBILE DATA




Many people find themselves inadvertantly signed up to a payforit scam. These sites are numerous and people will find themselves incurring a monthly charge for something they neither want or need.


The most common reason for this happening is when you click on a link on FB or other social media site and are redirected to another payforit site. (The forum already has a guide giving a full explanation about these sort of scams. It will be linked to below)


To avoid this happening, do NOT click on links if you are unsure as to where they will take you.

As an added safety precaution, ask customer services to place a DIRECT TO ALL BILL DEBITS BAR on your account. This will ensure no money is taken from your account.


If you are unlucky enough to find yourself a victim of one of these scams, then please take a look at this community guide and website which gives information on what to do next.

EDIT: From 11th May 2019, O2 and partners have introduced a 2 step verification process to avoid customers signing up inadvertently to these scams. Also, this will include a pin sent to your device or a text, which you will need to respond to before any payment is taken. 



▶ More Info here - CHARGE TO MOBILE

▶ More Info here - PAYFORIT




There is rarely any need to pay for apps you want to use. Look for free apps.

All available via Google Play (Android), App Store (Apple), Windows Phone Store (Windows)


▶ More Info here - GOOGLE PLAY

▶ More Info here - APP STORE

▶ More Info here - WINDOWS APPS




Calling abroad from the UK is NOT free.

It is classed as an International call or text and you will be charged.


▶ More Info here -  CALLING ABROAD FROM UK




There is a massive amount of advice on the forum about Travel Abroad, so this guide will simply make reference to it and provide links to relevant guides and sites.


Most important things to remember....

  • If travelling abroad and within the EU zone, you can use your allowances as if you were in the UK.
  • Wherever you travel to, try and make use of WiFi whenever you can.
  • If outside of the EU, make sure you turn voicemail off before you travel. (You will be charged twice if you leave it on and then answer the voicemail)
  • If travelling outside the EU you can make use of O2 Travel (shown below)
  • Certain tariffs will allow you to use O2 Travel Exclusive (shown below)
  • Some regions abroad do not allow either O2 Travel or Travel Exclusive so you will be liable for International roaming rates


▶ More Info here - TRAVEL IN EUROPE

▶ More Info here - O2 TRAVEL

▶ More Info here - O2 TRAVEL INCLUSIVE

More Info here - O2 INTERNATIONAL

on ‎29-04-2019 15:33
Good guide Den.
Very useful Smiley Happy
on ‎29-04-2019 15:57



Thanks a lot for taking the time to prepare this helpful guide @Cleoriff ! thumbsup

by Anonymous
on ‎29-04-2019 17:41

Great guide 

‎29-04-2019 17:42 - edited ‎29-04-2019 17:44

Excellent guide @Cleoriff it will be very useful smilingthumbsup



on ‎29-04-2019 18:03

Thanks everyone.

Must admit it took longer than promised.  However, I used the brilliant new drafting room which I highly recommend to anyone who wants to draft a guide then go back constantly to add more. Thanks also to @Marjo for her help. wink



on ‎29-04-2019 18:08


A lot of work went into that.

Excellent guide, well done. 

on ‎29-04-2019 18:12

Thanks @BobM 

It is long, though I thought having the Index at the top would help people 'jump to' the relevant secction of interest to them.

on ‎29-04-2019 18:17

Well done @Cleoriff  very good guide most usefull Smiley Happy

by Anonymous
‎29-04-2019 19:47 - edited ‎29-04-2019 19:47

You've put a lot of time & thought into this @Cleoriff , it shows ... should prove most useful ... great guide 

‎29-04-2019 19:59 - edited ‎29-04-2019 20:01

An excellent guide.

Concise and covers many of the concerns users may have.

@Cleoriff  Thank you for the time and effort which you have put into producing this guide. It is much appreciated. 

on ‎29-04-2019 20:02

Excellent Guide @Cleoriff  really neat and very nicely put together ~ well thought out.

Thank you for the time you spent on this guide, I shall certainly refer to it. 

on ‎30-04-2019 00:34

Great guide @Cleoriff .

Well researched and I love the layout grin

I've carried all that information round in my head for god knows how long.  Now I can empty a bit of my brain so that I can remember what 'her who must be obeyed' tells me the day before!wink

So timely too, my vote for the monthly award vulcan

on ‎30-04-2019 00:47

Not sure about 'timely' @jonsie ...

I had planned it would be completed about a month ago!

Thanks anyway Smiley Wink

by Community Manager
on ‎30-04-2019 10:07

Brilliant guide @Cleoriff ! Thanks for taking the time to pull all this info together in one place! smiling

on ‎30-04-2019 13:06

@Martin-O2 can this be added to the new Guide Mentions you've set up, or is it too big. It would definitely be useful to have, if possible.

by Community Manager
on ‎30-04-2019 13:29

Certainly @Glory1 ! Adding this to the guide mentions and index is on my to do list for today. wink

‎30-04-2019 13:36 - edited ‎30-04-2019 13:39

I wonder what #mention you will use @Martin-O2 ?

#tips, #charges, #bill or #warandpeace LOL


PS could it also go in the Index here? INDEX OF COMMUNITY GUIDES

by Community Manager
on ‎30-04-2019 13:40

I like #warandpeace @Cleoriff ! Lets see if the system allows it joy And yes I'll add it to the guide index at the same time. 

on ‎30-04-2019 14:38

Nice guide @Cleoriff , although I still struggle with the difference between the charge to mobile and pay for it! (Admittedly one seems to be when people want to pay for things and the other just a loophole used by scammers...)

on ‎30-04-2019 14:46

It seems that O2 do too @gmarkj Smiley Frustrated

on ‎30-04-2019 14:54

TBH @gmarkj  I did a bit, until I wrote the guide.

Now it's finished @Chris_K has just written a new guide on Charge to mobile here https://community.o2.co.uk/t5/Welcome-News/Charge-to-Mobile-amp-Premium-SMS-A-Community-Guide/td-p/1...

So I need to ask @Marjo  to change the one I have linked to upside down

on ‎30-04-2019 15:03

PS. @Martin-O2  has just set it up with a mention. @Glory1  it responds to the word #tip


on ‎30-04-2019 15:38

Thanks @Cleoriff though I did like your suggestion of # war and peace, appropriate for all sorts of reasons, including some of the rants on here when people get caught out joy

on ‎30-04-2019 23:52

Spotty dog, @CleoriffFantastic


on ‎01-05-2019 06:30

Slightly off topic, but are you in a time machine @pgn ?!?

It is currently 06:29 on 1st May, but you posted at 23:52 on 1st!!

on ‎01-05-2019 06:39

I think my Tardis has sprung a leak, @gmarkj Astounded

on ‎01-05-2019 13:21

That's for sure @pgn smiling

on ‎01-05-2019 15:02
Great guide, and perfectly written to help advanced and new users alike.
Good job @Cleoriff
on ‎11-06-2020 08:56


on ‎11-06-2020 09:04
Tickle? 😁
on ‎11-06-2020 09:10

Doesn't work. Took  me to the top of the guide @Marjo 


on ‎20-06-2021 11:47
This is brilliant thank you
on ‎20-06-2021 11:56

You're welcome, @Pipstop78.

on ‎20-06-2021 11:59

Thank you @Pipstop78 .

Pleased you like it and hope it will help you should you need it. smiling