EE charges customer £1,200 for sending emoticon-laden texts

EE store

A woman received a phone bill for 1,200 from EE after her Samsung smartphone converted any texts featuring emoticons to picture messages.

Hairdresser Paula Cochrane said she was charged 40p for each text message, despite being on an unlimited text plan costing 30.99 per month. When she complained, EE offered to cut the bill by 100, leaving the 48-year-old 'raging'.

When she looked into her bills from the last two months, she discovered her combined statements for December and January totalled more than 900, while her February totted up to 150 just from a few days.

Cochrane told The Daily Record: "Even the staff at my local EE shop were shocked when I told them. They knew nothing about it. Do EE really think I'd run up these bills if I knew the cost? It's daylight robbery.

"I feel violated that EE have withdrawn more than 1,000 from my account for a 30.99-a-month contract. It's totally unacceptable."

The problem has been reported by other users of Samsung devices including the Galaxy S1, S2, S3 and S4, as well as the Galaxy Note 1, 2, 3 and Galaxy Ace.

An EE spokesman told MailOnline: "There are a number of factors which can affect whether customers are charged for sending an emoji usually by the settings on the handset and so is a manufacturer rather than a network issue. EE has a help section on the website which details instances where an SMS may convert into MMS."

Apple, HTC, Nokia and Sony all told the website their devices would not convert emoticons into picture messages, so customers using handsets by the manufacturers would not suffer with the same issue.

Clare Hopping
Freelance writer

Clare is the founder of Blue Cactus Digital, a digital marketing company that helps ethical and sustainability-focused businesses grow their customer base.

Prior to becoming a marketer, Clare was a journalist, working at a range of mobile device-focused outlets including Know Your Mobile before moving into freelance life.

As a freelance writer, she drew on her expertise in mobility to write features and guides for ITPro, as well as regularly writing news stories on a wide range of topics.