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Cost traps with smartphones

Telephoning, taking photos, navigating; Listening to music, watching films, chatting - smartphones are digital all-rounders. But avid online use often results in considerable costs, which many customers only notice when they look at their phone bills. The following tips will help you to make the switch from "classic" mobile phones to smartphones without cost traps:

Mobile all-rounders with pitfalls

Typical features of smartphones are not only the merging of mobile telephony with the Internet, but also the convenient operation of an ever-increasing number of additional applications. The user can enter additional and updated data - such as addresses, texts, appointments - via high-resolution touchscreens and, thanks to fast and powerful online connections, load them directly into the device. The price for the innovative technology: The data volume is increasing steadily. Users can easily lose track of surfing time and data volume. You should therefore familiarize yourself with the functions of the new device with the help of the operating instructions or with the help of customer reviews on the Internet in order to get a feel for the pitfalls of the technology. Most devices offer the option of switching off the mobile data connection when a certain amount is reached. You can freely set the limit depending on the tariff you have booked.

Check preferences

Apps and other software on the smartphone often try to update themselves independently. The device will then automatically connect to the Internet, check for available updates, and download them. You should therefore check and adjust all settings of the smartphone before commissioning so that the device only downloads updates via the WLAN. If it is not possible to set the smartphone according to personal preferences, the dealer or relevant forums on the Internet may help.

Check operating system and mobile phone tariffs

When buying a smartphone, you don't just have to choose a device provider with a specific operating system. You should also pay attention to whether the current tariff of the previous cell phone is suitable for the operation of the new internet-capable all-rounder. In order to keep costs in check, it is important to choose a suitable tariff right from the start. Few phone users and thrifty surfers can choose a combined tariff for just a few euros per month. It is often also possible to add an Internet flat rate to an existing mobile phone contract.

Be careful with the navigation function and foreign assignments

The often pre-installed navigation function on smartphones also often runs over the Internet and generates costs. Caution is advised here, especially abroad. Flat rates and data volumes can be used within the EU in the same way as at home. The situation is different in non-EU countries, on ships and in airplanes. This is where mobile data usage can cost a lot of money. Therefore, you should inquire about the costs before traveling and, if necessary, book an additional option to the tariff.

Invoice and payment behavior

If you get a hefty mobile phone bill due to an unfavorable tariff, you can fundamentally object to this phone bill, stating reasons, request a subsequent proof of individual connection and the result of the technical check of the calculated connections. If the connections have actually been established, providers insist on paying the costs incurred and threaten to block the device or SIM card. However, a block is only permitted from an outstanding amount of 75 euros, whereby complained claims may not be counted.

Sometimes a telecommunications company can be left with the costs. The M√ľnster Regional Court acquitted a customer of paying an invoice for almost 1,000 euros, which had come about within two days because he had fallen into a cost trap from his provider badly advised. But the outcome of such a legal dispute is uncertain.

In order not to accidentally end up in subscriptions because you accidentally tapped something, you should have your provider activate a third-party lock as soon as you conclude the contract. This can also be done retrospectively via the customer hotline or the customer area on the Internet.