Non-EU roaming costs warning issued

Austrian consumer watchdogs have warned holidaymakers of high mobile phone costs in Turkey and Croatia.Labour Chamber (AK) experts said today (Weds) roaming costs in Croatia could reach a whopping two Euros per minute depending on the chosen provider.They also warned making a one-minute long mobile phone call from Turkey to Austria can cost up to 2.50 Euros.Travellers are charged for receiving calls up to 1.50 Euros per minute, the AK investigators added.AK however also said some Turkish providers will slash their rates as of 1 July.Croatia and Turkey are two of AustriansÂ’ most popular summer holiday destinations.These findings about phone charges in non-European Union (EU) member states come as a new EU regulation is set to come into force.The new directive agreed a few months ago and active as of 1 July means providers must warn customers about exceeding costs with a text message and in other ways.The ruling will also keep roaming fees below 46.8 cents per minute for making calls abroad within the EU. It will also mean that costs charged for received calls must not surpass 18 cents per minute.The price for a text message will however not be affected at 13.2 cents.AK experts appealed to tourists to save money by sending SMS instead of making calls home. They added suffering a “phone bill shock” can be possibly avoided too by informing oneself about the different providers at the holiday destination and manually chose the cheapest one.The AK study comes just days after a woman from Austria was charged 37,000 Euros roaming costs by her provider Mobilkom Austria for surfing the internet during a four-week vacation in Croatia.Mobilkom Austria however helped its customer by wiping 15,000 Euros off the bill, according to the Croatian Times.