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Email billing blunder meant MVNO iD Mobile told 24,000 customers to pay up or have their service suspended
Rush of subscribers trying to sort it brings network's online portal down
iD mobile – the Dixons Carphone-owned mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) which piggybacks on Three UK's network – has apologised after a billing snafu warned 24,000 customers they needed to cough up or else.
In an email sent to customers earlier this week, the MVNO warned: "There is currently an outstanding balance of £[xx] on your iD Mobile account. Unfortunately, your service will be suspended until the full outstanding balance has been paid."
It went on to say that suspended services would only resume "once a payment has been made."
One of those who received the erroneous email told us that iD Mobile hadn't taken any payment so far this month, but that "irate customers" were flocking to Twitter to share their concerns.
We're aware of an issue where some customers have been sent an outstanding balance notification in error. We're working on restoring access to the iD Mobile app so those affected can check their balance as soon as possible. We apologise for any inconvenience this may have caused.— iD Mobile (@iD_Mobile_UK) September 28, 2021
As a result of a spike in activity from phone users trying to sort out what it was they were being asked for, iD Mobile's portal didn't work for some.
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In a statement, iD Mobile – which has 1.1 million customers according to its 2020/2021 Dixons Carphone annual report – admitted their error and apologised.
On Monday evening, an error resulted in 24,000 iD Mobile customers incorrectly receiving an email stating there was an outstanding balance on their account. We have since contacted all affected customers via SMS and apologised for the error.
As a result of the above issue, we experienced an increase in traffic to our app, and this has meant some customers have been temporarily unable to access their account.
Our team are working on this issue, and we expect the app to be available to all customers again shortly. We apologise to any iD customers that have been unable to access the app today, and for any inconvenience this might've caused.
Earlier this month consumer group Which? quoted figures from telecoms regulator Ofcom [PDF] which stated there are more than 80 million active mobile subscriptions in the UK, and the overwhelming majority of customers are with one of the "big four" networks – EE, O2, Three and Vodafone.
"It's easy to be reassured by a big brand, but virtual networks have to work harder for your money, and do so by offering extremely competitive alternatives," it said. ®