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New legislation regarding bill capping

Excalibur Communications

Bill Capping

Following the announcement in November 2017, the new legal obligation on mobile providers to offer Bill Limits to customers has come into effect from the 1st October 2018.  But what is it and what does it mean to you?

The Legislation

As you would expect, the actual legislation is complex, full of legalities and not the easiest to read.  These are the key facts you need to know:

  • The provider of a mobile phone service must give a customer renewing their existing mobile contract, or taking out a new one, the opportunity to specify a billing limi.
  • The mobile phone service provider will allow the customer to:
    • Specify a billing limit if there isn’t one place already
    • Amend or remove a limit for all billing periods or a specified billing period
  • In any billing period, so far as is reasonable practicable the mobile phone service provider must:
    • Notify the customer if a limit is likely to be reached before the end of the period
    • Notify the customer if a limit is reached before the end of the period
  • A limit may be exceeded in a billing period, only if the customer agrees after notification
  • If the provider continues to provide the service after a limit is reached, the customer’s use of the service does not constitute agreement to the limit being exceeded

So that’s the legal jargon, but what does it actually mean?  Well, simply put nothing changes for you, unless you are renewing your contract or taking out a new connection on your account.

At this point, you have the ability to apply a bill cap at a per connection level.  The value of the bill cap varies by network/tariff you are on, but generally are at set amounts you can choose from.

The user will receive notification (generally by text, but not in all cases) to advise when they are close to their Bill Cap limit and again, when they reach their Bill Cap limit.

Once the Bill Cap is reached, the user can access their ‘tariff inclusive’ services (until you reach that limit), but a bar will be applied blocking all other billable/out of bundle services.  As an example – you can make 01, 02 & 03 telephone calls on an unlimited tariff, but you wouldn’t be able to dial an 0845 number; call internationally; send a picture message; or use more data than your tariff allows etc.

Unless they are the ‘nominated’ administrator of your account, the user can not lift the bar to resume services – this will have to be done via customer services and the nominated account manager.

Things To Consider

In theory, setting a cap on your monthly mobile bill makes perfect sense.  You have a predictable outgoing each month, you’re warned when you are getting close to the limit and are usually sent reminder texts before you actually cross it, but there are some things you need to consider especially at a business continuity level:

  • Do you want a Bill Cap applied at all?
  • How much Bill Cap you apply depends on your average spend and the risk to business disruption if you hit it
  • You can only apply Bill Cap’s to new connections or renewals completed since 1st Oct 2018
  • Consider the disruption to your users and their services if they reach their bill cap. Plus only the ‘nominated’ account manager in your fleet can lift a Bill Cap bar which has been activated

If you need anymore information about bill capping, all our account managers have been fully trained on the subject and can run you through the process as well as offer advice based on your situation.

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