Free Mobile is accused of taking advantage of the health crisis to overcharge some of its subscribers abroad. According to UFC-Que Choisir, Xavier Niel’s operator does not respect the law on roaming ratified in 2017.
In an article published on January 26, 2022, UFC-Que Choisr, the famous association for the defense of French consumers, attacks Free Mobile. The organization accuses the operator of having taken advantage of the Covid-19 pandemic to make money on the backs of its subscribers.
The UFC-Que Choisir tells the misadventure of a student in his third year of architecture school in Bordeaux, he left to study in Portugal as part of the famous Erasmus programme. Faced with the increase in cases of coronavirus in the country, and in particular in the student environment, the young woman was forced to make an appointment for a screening test.
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Free Mobile claims 68 euros off-package after calling a free number
She therefore contacted the National Health Service of Portugal through a special number, offered free of charge in the context of the health crisis. The procedure is not as simple as expected, the student being of foreign nationality. So she stays on the phone for about 25 minutes.
Shortly after, the future architect consults her client area via the Free Mobile application. She then discovered with astonishment that the operator claims €68.89 out of package because of his call to the Portuguese health center. The young woman’s father filed a complaint. Despite the arguments put forward (free number, etc.), Free Mobile refuses to turn a blind eye to the bill.
“This number may be officially free, but Free mobile considers it a special number and, as such, believes it can charge it as it sees fit, in this case €2.19 per minute”, explains UFC-Que Choisir. As the association points out, all calls made in a country of the European Union are supposed to be charged as if they had passed from Francestipulates the law on roaming approved in 2017.
This law means that you can use your mobile plan in Europe as if you were in France, without any additional cost. According to the UFC, Free has always refused to include the special numbers in this change, unlike its competitors.