There have been numerous reports of smartphone users being charged for sending emoticons, as their phones turn the symbols into pictures. It is not the networks’ faults, and customers can prevent this.
At the start of February 2016, Paula Cochrane shared with The Daily Mail that she had been charged £1,200 for sending emoticons, also called emojis. Her Samsung Galaxy phone was automatically converting text messages with the Japanese-founded symbols into picture/multimedia messages. It led to a complaint to her network provider EE, who offered to reduce her bill by £100.
Last week, images of status updates on Facebook went viral as others complained about similar problems. One user said she had been charged £30 due to the use of emojis. Many have blamed network providers for this, but this is not a problem or fault with a network. The contract provider has no idea what type of content is being sent in a message.
The symbols, especially downloaded ones, are mistaken by the phone as images. They automatically change to multimedia messages, especially on older Samsung phones. Those with Samsung Galaxy 1-4 and Note 1-3 are most commonly affected. Users can stop this by going into their settings and changing the phones capability of automatically changing texts to multimedia messages.
iPhone users can do the same, even just for peace of mind. However, Phone users have the option of sending messages as an iMessage to other iPhone users. All these messages are free, even if they include images. Likewise, WhatsApp, SnapChat and other similar apps are available for sending pictures without a charge.
It is always important to check the bill details and immediately query anything that does not seem right. Cochrane originally believed she had gone over her data allowance when she first saw a bigger bill, and it took two months of large bills for her to find out it was the emoticons texts automatically being converted. Querying the details and finding out the truth could have saved the stress, worry and large bill.
EE has since updated its website to include a section about the charged emoji messages. Others are following suit to make sure customers are aware. EE is also answering questions via Twitter to help customers deal with the situation.
Featured image from Twitter picture included
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