How can I avoid being charged for data roaming when close to the border?
Patricia contacted Smart Consumer about phone charges she received for data roaming even though she was in the Republic of Ireland.
Patricia lives in Donegal and at the end of May she was driving about seven miles from the border with Northern Ireland when she heard her phone beeping to alert her that a text was coming through.
There were four texts from her network Three informing her of charges for data roaming, first €10.71, then €20.50, then €31.79 and then €41.02.
But Patricia wasn't in another jurisdiction, and was on the same road she travels every day, so data roaming charges should not apply. Three confirmed that she was charged €36.02 plus 23pc VAT for data roaming.
Smart Consumer contacted Three, who said that "as a gesture of goodwill, we have refunded Patricia the amount charged in this incident".
Three also provided Patricia with advice on how best to avoid such costs in the future.
To avoid inadvertent roaming you should ensure that in your phone's settings you manually choose your network, rather than allowing the phone automatically select a network and risking it wandering over to a stronger signal at any point.
If you are roaming, make sure you close apps individually so they don't run and use data in the background and of course you can turn data roaming off altogether on any handset to avoid data charges.
If you want, you could turn it back on only when in a wifi zone to get free data access.