Consumer website MoneySavingExpert has received tons of these complaints (I myself was victim to it on New Years Eve).
Apparently what is happening is that mobile phone providers are classing Emoticons (smily faces you send in text messages) as Multi Media Messages (MMS) on some hand sets, as well as sending a bulk text message, like I did this new years eve.
Most pay as you go and contract phone tariffs allow a few of these free, usually around 10, but the rest can be charged as much as 40p per message.
Apparently a lady in Scotland ran up a bill of over £1000, but I personally cant understand how that happened!?
Money Saving Expert also found that this happened mostly on older handset that don’t handle the emoticons (or emojis) correctly, or from people who are making custom emojis for other character, like full stop.
“If a customer is using a smartphone to send text messages to more than one person at the same time, they could be charged the cost of sending an MMS. It can also happen when the message contains icons, emoticons and symbols or an email address.
And some apps (such as Facebook) that integrate with a customer’s contact list in their smartphone may result in an MMS charge too,” it said in a statement.
“To stop this happening, customers should make sure they don’t include symbols, icons or emoticons and also disable the integration between their contact list and apps like Facebook.”
Some smartphones will alert customers when an SMS has converted to an MMS, it added.
Consider using free text messaging services such as Apple’s iMessage (which is free when sent to another Apple device) or WhatsApp.
When I complained I was told very politely tough, but the more people complain the faster something will have to change