Vodafone customers are being warned that they could be charged £5 for sending just one text while on holiday due to a policy change, warns MoneySavingExpert.
Pay-monthly customers are now charged a flat £5 fee for using minutes, texts and data from their UK allowance in 60 countries around the world.
The mobile firm changed its roaming policy at the beginning of the month due to customer feedback, it claims.
The new £5 charge applies to customers travelling to 60 countries outside Europe, including the USA, Mexico, Egypt, Australia, and large parts of the Caribbean.
Mobile firms have been banned from charging customers extra to use their phone while on holiday in the Eurozone since June this year.
It’s part of new EU rules which mean that operators offer the same service to phone users throughout the EU – but there are no rules for countries outside of this area.
The change in Vodafone’s policy was spotted by MoneySavingExpert.com and it branded the changes as “outrageous”.
Steve Nowottny, news and features editor at MoneySavingExpert.com, said: “There’s a very real risk that customers who are careful to only use their phone sparingly abroad to keep costs down will see their bill rocket.
“Using your mobile phone outside Europe can often be a pricey business, and if you use it a lot, the ‘add-on’ bundles offered by mobile providers can be a cost-effective option.
“But what grates here is that customers have simply had the choice taken away – not only have they been opted in to ‘Roam-further’ by default, they can’t even choose to opt out.”
A spokesperson from Vodafone said: “Our Roam-further service costs £5 per day only on the days you use it and is based on customer feedback.
“It allows customers to use their home price plan abroad to look at maps online, access social media, send photos as well as make and receive calls and texts for free.”
It also added that it offers 4G roaming in more destinations than any other operator and it doesn’t slow down your data connection.
The spokesperson added: “Above all, Roam-further enables customers to do all of these things without fear of ‘bill-shock’ since it is just one charge with no hidden extras.”
However, the levy is applied to a customer’s bill even if they send just one single text message.