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Old 04.04.2016, 12:45
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Has Lebara illegally charged me or am I just stupid?

It's okay, you can call me stupid.

Until recently I had a Nokia phone I bought in 2009. I use prepaid Lebara. If I wanted internet access, I sent an sms to a particular number with a particular code and I was then charged 5CHF/month, which was enough for me to do emails which is all I wanted it for. I cancelled this last year as my phone was not working well enough to do emails.

My phone died and, unable to find a replacement for my Nokia except by buying a Blackberry (I love proper keyboards) I bought what I suppose is a smart phone. I received an advice from Lebara maybe a week later saying my credit was low. When I looked in my account it was charging me for internet.

I wrote and complained and was told that I had to manually turn off all the things to do with internet that were automatic at the moment. I've done that, but I want my money back. Is that unreasonable? Why does Lebara get to charge me for a service I have not requested from them?
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Old 04.04.2016, 12:47
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Re: Has Lebara illegally charged me or am I just stupid?

If data was turned on, you were using the service as your phone would connect. I think you should pay.

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It's okay, you can call me stupid.

Until recently I had a Nokia phone I bought in 2009. I use prepaid Lebara. If I wanted internet access, I sent an sms to a particular number with a particular code and I was then charged 5CHF/month, which was enough for me to do emails which is all I wanted it for. I cancelled this last year as my phone was not working well enough to do emails.

My phone died and, unable to find a replacement for my Nokia except by buying a Blackberry (I love proper keyboards) I bought what I suppose is a smart phone. I received an advice from Lebara maybe a week later saying my credit was low. When I looked in my account it was charging me for internet.

I wrote and complained and was told that I had to manually turn off all the things to do with internet that were automatic at the moment. I've done that, but I want my money back. Is that unreasonable? Why does Lebara get to charge me for a service I have not requested from them?
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Old 04.04.2016, 12:57
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Re: Has Lebara illegally charged me or am I just stupid?

I changed from Lebara pre-paid after having some similar problems.

They were charging me for a 1GB data plan, and I was only getting 500MB. Which I then of course was charged per MB after the 500 ran out. After that they also once charged me twice for topping up my account once. In my experience, Lebara has a lot of problems. I can't say that they do it on purpose, but you have to be very careful with their services, and definitely check your account often!! Call right away if you see any problems in your account usage.
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Old 04.04.2016, 13:01
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Re: Has Lebara illegally charged me or am I just stupid?

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I changed from Lebara pre-paid after having some similar problems.

They were charging me for a 1GB data plan, and I was only getting 500MB. Which I then of course was charged per MB after the 500 ran out. After that they also once charged me twice for topping up my account once. In my experience, Lebara has a lot of problems. I can't say that they do it on purpose, but you have to be very careful with their services, and definitely check your account often!! Call right away if you see any problems in your account usage.
I certainly agree that there can be lots of issues with Lebara. I've been illegally charged twice for other things, but have quickly sorted it out. On this one, despite complaints, so far I haven't.
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Old 04.04.2016, 13:03
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Re: Has Lebara illegally charged me or am I just stupid?

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If data was turned on, you were using the service as your phone would connect. I think you should pay.
So, even though it's a PHONE - something for making PHONECALLS - they can charge me for using the internet without any agreement?

And continuing along that path, when I am using wifi they can still charge me because, well, because they can?
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Old 04.04.2016, 13:05
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Re: Has Lebara illegally charged me or am I just stupid?

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So, even though it's a PHONE - something for making PHONECALLS - they can charge me for using the internet without any agreement?

And continuing along that path, when I am using wifi they can still charge me because, well, because they can?
You used the service as your phone was downloading data, of course your liable to pay the costs.
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Old 04.04.2016, 13:17
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Re: Has Lebara illegally charged me or am I just stupid?

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You used the service as your phone was downloading data, of course your liable to pay the costs.
Exactly - a phone company I was with had the same thing with a prepaid option some time ago IIRC. I only used the phone and sms options, so I turned wifi off. Had I left it on I would've been charged an amount per day.

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If data was turned on, you were using the service as your phone would connect. I think you should pay.
Agreed - if you don't want to pay for wifi, best to switch it off IMO. I'm sure that the small print some place in your contract says that there is a charge for wifi.
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Old 04.04.2016, 13:26
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Re: Has Lebara illegally charged me or am I just stupid?

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Exactly - a phone company I was with had the same thing with a prepaid option some time ago IIRC. I only used the phone and sms options, so I turned wifi off. Had I left it on I would've been charged an amount per day.



Agreed - if you don't want to pay for wifi, best to switch it off IMO. I'm sure that the small print some place in your contract says that there is a charge for wifi.
Sorry, I meant if I am using other wifi, say a cafe's or my own, Lebara is still going to charge me because it can?
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Old 04.04.2016, 14:24
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Re: Has Lebara illegally charged me or am I just stupid?

I guess that WiFi is not a service provided by Lebara, therefore they can not charge you for it. Mobile internet, on the other hand, is and since you used it (even inadvertently), they will charge you for it as they have no way of knowing whether you intended to use it or not.

That being said, I find it extremely annoying that most smartphones are shipped with the data connection enabled by default. Sometimes it even turns on by default if you reboot it. I have been charged because of this too, and it's especially bad when roaming, so I understand you.
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Old 04.04.2016, 14:52
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Re: Has Lebara illegally charged me or am I just stupid?

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I guess that WiFi is not a service provided by Lebara, therefore they can not charge you for it. Mobile internet, on the other hand, is and since you used it (even inadvertently), they will charge you for it as they have no way of knowing whether you intended to use it or not.

That being said, I find it extremely annoying that most smartphones are shipped with the data connection enabled by default. Sometimes it even turns on by default if you reboot it. I have been charged because of this too, and it's especially bad when roaming, so I understand you.
Okay, I'm getting the picture. My fault even if inadvertent.

I guess it will explain to me in the phone manual how to organise things so that I can access public wifi without Lebara charging me too.
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Old 04.04.2016, 15:07
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Re: Has Lebara illegally charged me or am I just stupid?

Just turn off mobile data and you should be fine. I don't know of a situation where you can be charged for WiFi access without knowing it. Usually you have to enter credit card information or explicitly pay in some other way (per SMS for example) if the WiFi network you are accessing is not free.
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Old 04.04.2016, 15:08
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Re: Has Lebara illegally charged me or am I just stupid?

If your data is turned on, and you recieve information, such as an email, iMessage, whatsapp, app updates.... You are still using data, even if you have not gone online as such!
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Old 04.04.2016, 15:11
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Re: Has Lebara illegally charged me or am I just stupid?

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Okay, I'm getting the picture. My fault even if inadvertent.

I guess it will explain to me in the phone manual how to organise things so that I can access public wifi without Lebara charging me too.
It is quite confusing with a new phone that just connects to the internet on mobile. I am not sure how you used your old nokia for checking emails etc. But, here is the relevant details from Lebara -

1. Tariffs

Without any Internet option, data usage is charged 0.25 CHF per MB. Please note that this tariff is only valid within Switzerland.

2. Promotions

We offer to our customers several Internet packages:

– SURF 120Mb for 4.90 CHF, to activate it send SURF to 255

– SURF 1G for 14.90 CHF, to activate it send DATA1 to 255

I think what you used to do is activate this surf 120Mb option and continued to use it. When you changed the phone, you did not activate it again but did continue to use the internet (knowingly or unknowingly). So, they charged you at 0.25 CHF per MB.

The steps going forward -

1. You did use the internet, so you will have to pay. You cannot demand the money back as you have used a service. It is also not Lebara's fault that your phone used the internet.

2. You can continue doing the same thing you did before but something tells me that your phone is using internet for things you are not aware of (whatsapp, facebook, MMS, software update check etc.). Please find a friend who can help you figure this out or the manual might help (warning: they are usually confusing). The option you want to find is how to switch mobile data off, if you do not want to use data at all.

3. Using WiFi will not incur any charges (unless the WiFi is a paid one, in which case you will be entering payment details anyway) from Lebara. So, don't worry about using any free wifi service that you can find or connect to.
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Old 04.04.2016, 15:26
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Re: Has Lebara illegally charged me or am I just stupid?

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Sorry, I meant if I am using other wifi, say a cafe's or my own, Lebara is still going to charge me because it can?
If you use your own wifi, or a café's free service, then you will not be charged by your mobile telecoms provider. You are only charged if you use mobile data (i.e. 4g, 3g etc.) via the cellular network.

(Ok, Lebara might also have some wifi hotspots and charge you for using those as well, but it seems to me to be an unlikely scenario).
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Old 04.04.2016, 16:54
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Re: Has Lebara illegally charged me or am I just stupid?

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So, even though it's a PHONE - something for making PHONECALLS - they can charge me for using the internet without any agreement?

And continuing along that path, when I am using wifi they can still charge me because, well, because they can?
What about buying a basic phone (one that only has the functionalities needed for making calls - as in the good old times) and use that with your Lebara SIM? Then, when/if you get a plan with unrestricted data usage, you can use your new smart phone without having to deal with the data switch.

By the way, once I got stung really bad with roaming charges for data usage when I forgot to switch data off after crossing borders. Lesson learnt.

If you ever go close to the borders, you need to find out how to manually choose a service provider, or the phone will automatically switch to the provider with the strongest signal.
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Old 04.04.2016, 17:01
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Re: Has Lebara illegally charged me or am I just stupid?

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What about buying a basic phone (one that only has the functionalities needed for making calls - as in the good old times) and use that with your Lebara SIM? Then, when/if you get a plan with unrestricted data usage, you can use your new smart phone without having to deal with the data switch.
Yes, I'm starting to wish I'd done that. I had email on my old Nokia and I really need email, so I kind of thought that I had to get one of these new phones they have in the cities now (as Stewart Lee might put it). But maybe I should just get a phone phone and accept that I can't use it for emails. Accept that I've chucked a bit more money down the Swiss drain (and my, what a big drain it is).
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Old 04.04.2016, 18:06
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Re: Has Lebara illegally charged me or am I just stupid?

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Yes, I'm starting to wish I'd done that. I had email on my old Nokia and I really need email, so I kind of thought that I had to get one of these new phones they have in the cities now (as Stewart Lee might put it). But maybe I should just get a phone phone and accept that I can't use it for emails. Accept that I've chucked a bit more money down the Swiss drain (and my, what a big drain it is).
You have tons of options, if you need email on your phone:
  • get subscription with unlimited data
  • get subscription with no data, but use wifi to get your emails


there are also many other possibilities how you can get emails and Internet to your phone; and it need not be very expensive.



You would probably need to go to someone (or read online) how does it all work, because it seems that your knowledge of smartphones is limited.
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Old 04.04.2016, 18:24
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Re: Has Lebara illegally charged me or am I just stupid?

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Just turn off mobile data and you should be fine. I don't know of a situation where you can be charged for WiFi access without knowing it. Usually you have to enter credit card information or explicitly pay in some other way (per SMS for example) if the WiFi network you are accessing is not free.
I don't think it's the case here, but you can be charged for inadvertantly using your mobile network's wifi.

Swisscom, for example, treat data connections via their wifi hotspots as part of your normal data allowance. Which is a bugger if you have a lowish allowance and your phone is set to download updates, mails, etc. when you connect to wifi, which it will do by default whenever you're near. It's actually a double bugger, because their hotspots tend to be a damned sight slower than 3/4G, so even if you're not on a low allowance, it's annoying to have to switch wifi off and then remember to turn it back on when you get home.
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Old 04.04.2016, 18:46
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Re: Has Lebara illegally charged me or am I just stupid?

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I don't think it's the case here, but you can be charged for inadvertantly using your mobile network's wifi.

Swisscom, for example, treat data connections via their wifi hotspots as part of your normal data allowance. Which is a bugger if you have a lowish allowance and your phone is set to download updates, mails, etc. when you connect to wifi, which it will do by default whenever you're near. It's actually a double bugger, because their hotspots tend to be a damned sight slower than 3/4G, so even if you're not on a low allowance, it's annoying to have to switch wifi off and then remember to turn it back on when you get home.
I guess that's what I'm apprehensive about. When I had a 5CHF/month surfing with Lebara, it was always sufficient, since I rarely used it for the internet. But now in just a few days it probably racked up about 10CHF for a couple of minutes here and there on the internet without my appreciating the implications. I guess while I've only got 1CHF credit left, I can test it to see if I can log onto my home wifi without Lebara charging me....
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Old 04.04.2016, 18:47
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Re: Has Lebara illegally charged me or am I just stupid?

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your knowledge of smartphones is limited.
Could scarcely be less smartphone savvy. An interesting learning experience for me.
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