A COUPLE from Darwen are backing calls for a change in the law after they were left facing a £6,000 mobile phone bill — for a handset they rarely used.
Mark and Louise Orrell-Dobson received the bill from Everything Everywhere (EE) for a phone they kept only for emergencies which had its sim card stolen or cloned.
It was only after months of wrangling, and the intervention of Darwen MP Jake Berry and the Lancashire Telegraph, that the bill was slashed to a one-off payment of £100.
The Orrell-Dobsons said the original bill detailed calls made to overseas countries including Iraq and Greece.
After contesting the charge they were initially told by the communications firm, formed after a merging of Orange and T-Mobile, the bill would be reduced to £3,150 but they had to pay buy March 9.
The town’s MP then pledged to fight for the bill to be dropped, taking the case to Parliament.
Joiner Mr Orrell-Dobson, who lives with accountant wife Louise, 35, and six-year-old son Jack, said on Friday they received a call agreeing to close the matter if the couple paid £100.
Mr Orrell-Dobson, 34, of Turncroft Road, said they were stunned when the bill arrived.
He said: “It was a huge shock when we opened the letter to find a bill of more than £6,000.
“We rang the company and explained and the man on the phone said he could tell it was fraudulent and told us not to worry.
“But then the bank called and told us the £6,300 had been taken from our bank, but they were able to stop it.
“We could have lost everything if that had gone through. I just hope now there’s a change in the law and this doesn’t happen to anyone else.”
MP Mr Berry had been lobbying for the telecoms firm to write off the bill and has pledged to raise the issue with Business Secretary Vince Cable.
An EE spokesman said: “If a customer suspects that their phone or SIM has been lost or stolen, we strongly advise they let us know as soon as possible, just as they would cancel their cards if they lost their wallet. Only then can we prevent calls or data use being charged to their account.
"Due to the exceptional circumstances of Mr Orrell-Dobson’s situation, we have offered him a substantial reduction on his bill as a gesture of good will.”