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MORE THAN TEN MILLION PEOPLE SUFFER

FROM BILL STRESS DISORDER

A leading stress expert says today that millions of people are suffering from ‘billness’, a newly identified form of stress disorder caused by unpredictable household bills.

Dr Roger Henderson, a stress counsellor advising T-Mobile, says the condition is mushrooming as more and more people leave themselves open to variable, and often erratic, monthly charges.

An independent study for T-Mobile reveals that almost one in four mobile phone customers dread receiving their monthly bill, only just behind the proportion of people who dread opening envelopes from the Inland Revenue.[1]

Dr Henderson has identified the following symptoms of billness:

n        Worrying constantly about your bills

n        Getting anxious about opening the post if you think it contains a bill

n        Feeling you have no control over any bills you receive

n        Classic stress symptoms such as sweaty palms, palpitations and nausea

n        Avoiding any discussion of finances because of the anxiety it causes

“Variable billing isn’t new but it’s become much more prevalent with the rapid growth of mobile phones, home internet and of course the explosion in the use of credit cards,” said Dr Henderson.

“Self Assessment tax forms also lead to heart-stopping moments for millions of people each year when the Inland Revenue lets them know whether they’ve paid the right amount of tax.

“One of the principal causes of stress is lack of control which is why the rapid rise in the number of variable bills we receive is becoming a genuine problem.”

Dr Henderson has identified some simple steps to prevent billness: “People should face up to their finances and deal with bills straight away. More organisation with records should help too. Billness can be prevented by avoiding nasty surprises. People should opt for contracts and payment plans which ensure guaranteed billing levels each month

[1] Survey conducted by TNS fieldwork 18-20 March 2005

For those who are already affected by billness, Dr Henderson offers some advice on how to treat the condition:

n        Take control. Set up a plan to get out of debt, including a monthly budget to include every pound you earn and spend

n        Don’t buy anything on credit, unless in an emergency

n        Only buy things you truly need (not just want)

n        Avoid buying something that needs maintenance or accessories that lead to further expense

n        Admit there are certain things you can’t afford, and don’t buy them

n        Take charge of your mobile phone bills by using T-Mobile U-Fix to control what you spend

Dr Henderson adds, “A little bit of stress can be good for you. However, too much can have a negative impact so I recommend people follow simple steps, such as giving themselves more control over their bill spending, to reduce stress levels. With one in five people in Britain saying they experience severe stress every day simple solutions should not be ignored.”

Dr Henderson specialises in stress and has found financial stress can have some major effects. It can cause significant problems in relationships and people can be in worse health than those who have good control over their finances.

Phil Chapman, Marketing Director, T-Mobile UK commented, “At T-Mobile we’re committed to making our customers’ lives easier and one way is through transparent pricing. Our new offer, U-Fix combines total customer control over their mobile bill spend, ensuring they can avoid any billness related to their mobile phone bill.”

U-Fix costs either £15 or £25 a month, with the choice of making calls and sending messages UK nationally to any network, at any time or just at off-peak times.

-          Ends –
 

Media Enquiries:

Steve Marinker  020 7282 2841 / 07779 031936  steve.marinker@citigatedr.co.uk

Mark Schmid   020 7282 2834 / 07960 483181  mark.schmid@citigatedr.co.uk

About T-Mobile International

T-Mobile International is one of the world’s leading companies in mobile communications. As one of Deutsche Telekom`s three strategic business units, T-Mobile concentrates on the most dynamic markets in Europe and the United States. By end of 2004, almost 120 million people were using the mobile communications services provided by companies in which T-Mobile or Deutsche Telekom have a majority or minority stake. And all that over a common technology platform based on GSM, the world’s most successful digital wireless standard. This also makes T-Mobile the only mobile communications provider with a seamless transatlantic service.

T-Mobile also is partner of FreeMove, an alliance formed by four of Europe’s leading mobile companies - Orange, Telefónica Móviles, TIM (Telecom Italia Mobile) and T-Mobile – to help their customers communicate as easily while travelling abroad as they do at home.

For more information about T-Mobile International, please visit www.t-mobile.net

About T-Mobile U-Fix

T-Mobile U-Fix costs either £15 or £25 a month, with the choice of making calls and sending messages UK nationally to any network, at any time or just at off-peak times.

 

£15 a month

£25 a month

U-Fix

50 mins + 25 texts

100 mins + 50 texts

 

 

 

U-Fix Off-peak

300 mins + 30 texts

750 mins + 75 texts

 

1,000 free texts as an introductory offer

Additional benefits are: there is a choice of free handsets, including the Nokia 6230, LG C3300 or Motorola E550; there is no additional line rental charge; voicemail is free; as an introductory offer, there are 1,000 free text messages to be used in the first 3 months; picture messaging and internet access are available, and there is a starter pack of 10 free picture messages and 1MB of free ‘t-zone’ browsing.

If, during any month, customers approach the end of their chosen allocation of minutes and texts, they will be sent an SMS message alerting them and offering the ability to top up their bundle of minutes and text messages.

U-Fix is aimed particularly at students and early earners, both groups being high users of mobile but with typically lower incomes, and at parents wanting to provide their children with mobile phones. T-Mobile estimates there are some 3.2 million parents contributing to the cost of their children’s phones. Currently, they face the choice of paying often high pre-pay call rates or losing control over what their children spend. There are some 1.8 million students over age 18 using pay-as-you-go phones, and some 4 million so-called pre-pay switchers over age 18.

About Dr Roger Henderson

Dr Roger Henderson is a qualified as a doctor from St Bartholomew's Hospital, London in 1985 and as a general practitioner in 1990. His first book - 'Stress Beaters; 100 Proven Ways to Manage Stress' - was an immediate best seller and his second - 100 ways to live to 100 – was published in 2002.  He is also a popular lecturer on stress, and has given seminars on this subject across the UK.

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