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Repeatedly charged for data despite mobile data turned off

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Repeatedly charged for data despite mobile data turned off

I noticed recently that my credit had been going down at a much faster rate than usual, and after checking my usage I see repeated charges of €2 for "internet" despite me never turning mobile data on. Only in emergencies do I use mobile data, 99% of the time the I'm on wifi when using the internet or anything data-related on my phone.


These charges don't occur every day, for example I've been charged the last 3 days in a row but not the day before that (and yes I had credit then) and the times are sporadic, mostly when I wouldn't be using the phone, i.e. 2am, 6am... completely random.


I turned my phone off deliberately last night and saw I was still charged €2 an hour afterwards, so it's not like some spurious app has bypassed any settings, it's being taken directly from my account for no reason. Can someone help?

151 REPLIES 151

We've always needed to validate our customers before giving out details of there account. 

@Anonymous wrote:
what is the solution to this problem? This problem only occurs on three mobiles from three, not on Aldi Medion or on Google phones? Please post the full solution (three moderator solution) to the forum.

Have you tried turning off Location services on the phone? Since I did that on mine (along with switching to GSM only) I haven't received any spurious charges. It's still not ideal as I preferred having it turned on but I guess it's better than shelling out €2 daily.


The thing I don't get is that Three analyzes how their customers use their phones and have no problem ringing up saying "I see you call ABC fairly often, how would you like to switch to XYZ plan?"

It was plainly obvious from the amounts of data going out (less than 1kb in most instances) that it was accidental usage - turning mobile data on results in a multiple of that from stuff syncing and that's before you do anything like check emails, browse the internet etc. - yet they were content for €2 to be leaving my account every day for nothing.

It would be different if there was data in the tens or hundreds of MB, but less than 1kb? Come on.


And yet all I kept getting in response was "It's a phone issue." and no further information. No effort to help me clarify what might be causing it, why it was happening me and not others... Entirely left to me to try and research what the problem might be (at a lot of cost I might add, as the only way to test whether data was sending or receiving was to get charged for it), and had I not, I'd still be in the same position.

First, it's definitely not an app, as running the phone in safe mode (all third party apps disabled) still resulted in data use. Analyzing the data usage (some phones don't have this feature) all data was going through Android OS as you can see here - and yes, that's 43.14kb for the month

So through trial and error I finally stumbled across turning off Location services along with switching to GSM stopped the charges.


It's not just a phone issue or just a Three issue but rather a combination of both, along with Android.

It can't be a phone issue given that you have a Huawei and I have a Sony. A lot of people have the same phones on a different network with no issues. Yet there are other people on Three with the same phone but an older version of Android that don't have it.

And from my looking into the issue there are people from other countries (Germany, USA etc.) that have the same issue but are obviously not on Three. But these networks must all have something in common with the way they utilise data.


To stop this from happening there should be a daily allowance of 50kb - not enough to do anything, but enough to take into account any errant data use. Having a flat charge of €2 whether it's 0.01kb or 200mb is ludicrous. The issue went on for the bulk of 2 months and cost me nearly €100, and would still be costing me now had I not done something about it.

That isn't a lot to ask for. I've been a loyal customer of this network for almost 15 years, since back when it was Esat Digifone(!), yet that didn't seem to count for much.


I've already made a detailed post about this above, yet I still see the same stock answers getting trotted out for what is obviously the same issue. It's disappointing.

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So the solution is go to setting -> networked app and turn all the mobile
data options to off. Even if your mobile data is off these apps will still
eat data when away from your wifi. You can then turn back on auto sync and
suchlike. What really gets to me id that three told my wife that she had
the main "mobile data" on or somebody had set it to on. It has been off
since she got the phone because we dont use data. Its basically the fact
that three called her a liar that gets to me. And no refund. By the way
this is a new android feature not on android 5.1.1. And what gets to me
also is that three know the solution and ship the phone with this bug.
Not applicable

Have had the very same problem 2euro for 0.02Kb charged 4 days in a row despite phone
having been on shut down that entire time period. After a few enquiries got the refund but
worryingly if my phone hadn't to have been out of use during that period i probably wouldn't
have noticed these unjust charges.

Hi Gary, the €2 is our daily rate when you have no active bundle. You will only be charged for data when mobile data is switched on on the phone. If data is left on the phone itself uses it to update and apps that run in the background also use it. What type of phone do you have? Do you have WiFi assist on the phone? 

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@Martin I noticed the same issue few weeks ago when I didn't have data addon. Several times I was charges 2EUR for something about 20kb and once even when I had my BeFree Internet addon still active I was charged 2EUR (05/03/2018). How do I prevent this from happening?


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Well you won't like my solution. I went to Tesco mobile and set up data
usage package. We could fix it and 3 wouldn't accept responsibility for the
problem. If data is off data should not work. We were told to turn of
network apps which is ridiculous. Not a solution or a workaround.

Hi @Anonymous, PM me your number, address, name and DOB? I'll check this out.

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I have read the other post on this topic and have the same problem.

I have contacted 3 on many occassions with the exact same results as the others. They say it is my fault. Again they say the the background apps are the problem but exactley as the others say I have turned off all these background updates. I rarely turn on mobile data- maybe once a month but i keep getting these spurious data charges for €2.

The last time i "chated" to a 3 person he said he would have the matter raise with the technical team and let me know the answer. I await result.

This is unacceptable trading practice and i expect to be be compensated. Again the rudnes  or maybe incompetence of your people is unacceptable. Please tell them not to ask if there is anything they can help me with since they have not helped me at all.

If I do not have a solution by Mon 8th I will be contacting Comreg.

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Hi @Anonymous I'll certainly look into this for you. Can you send a PM with your mobile number, name, address and date of birth please?